Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi has been sentenced for six years and three months. Salehi, who supported the protest movement that sprang up in Iran last year, has avoided a death sentence. Salehi had expressed support online for a wave of nationwide protests triggered by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman arrested for not covering her head properly.
Salehi expressed his support for the protests through his songs. Salehi was convicted of “corruption on earth”, a charge which could mean a death sentence. His lawyer Rosa Etemad Ansari said that he was acquitted of insulting the Supreme Leader and cooperation with hostile governments. And that he had been moved out of solitary confinement into the general section of his prison.
In a Youtube video, the rapper can be seen rapping the lines, “Someone's crime was dancing with her hair in the wind,” referencing Amini. The video has about 450,000 views.
In another video, he talks about Iran's theocratic rule. "Your whole past is dark, the government that took the light out of the eyes... We go from the bottom of the pyramid and knock to the top... Forty-four years of your government, this is the year of failure."
In November, after Salehi was arrested, state media released a picture of him blindfolded and stated that he renounced his previous statements criticising the government. Salehi was reportedly arrested while attempting to flee the country.