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Iran's top court orders retrial for rapper on death row

December 24, 2022

Saman Yasin, a Kurdish Iranian rapper, had been sentenced to death on charges that include attempting to kill security forces and setting a trash bin on fire during a clampdown on protests.

Saman Yasin
Saman YasinImage: kordtunes.ir

Iran's judiciary announced on Saturday that the Supreme Court has accepted an appeal by the rapper Saman Seydi Yasin against his death sentence

In recent weeks, Iran has handed death sentences to several anti-government protesters for what it labeled to be "riots." The protests were initially focused on the country's morality police before growing into a wider anti-regime movement.

Yasin accused of 'enmity against God'

The judiciary's Mizan news agency said the musician would now face a retrial.

The Iranian Kurdish rapper, who has tackled inequality and oppression in his work, was accused of "enmity against God," attempting to kill security forces, firing a gun into the air and setting a trash bin on fire.

"Where in the world have you seen a loved one's life is taken for a trash bin?" his mother said in a video posted on social media as she pleaded for help to save her son. 

Mizan initially said Yasin and another protester, Mohammad Ghobadlou, would be retried. But it later issued a statement that said that Ghobadlou's appeal had been rejected and only Yasin's was accepted. 

Earlier this month, Iran's Supreme Court announced that it was suspending the death sentence of protester Mahan Sadrat, who had been charged with stabbing a security officer. 

But more protesters are facing the capital punishment. Two protesters were publicly hanged this month for charges including wounding or killing members of the paramilitary Basij force. 

Iran cracks down on protests

According to rights group Amnesty International, Iran is seeking to execute at least 26 protesters. The watchdog described the process as "sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran." 

Amnesty: At least 26 people in Iran at risk of execution

The protests were sparked by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who died in the custody of Iran's notorious morality police. She had been detained for allegedly not abiding by the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women.

Iran's authorities have violently clamped down on the demonstrations. Rights group HRANA reports that more than 500 protesters have been killed and over 18,500 arrested. 

A senior Revolutionary Guard commander has, however, put the death toll at 300, including security force members. 

Iran protests reverberate around the world

fb/dj (AFP, Reuters)