Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi faces the death penalty for criticizing the violent crackdown on the current protests in Iran. In addition to "corruption on earth", the indictment accuses Salehi of being an "enemy of God", the justice portal "Misan Online" quoted the head of the judicial authority of Isfahan province, Assadollah Jaafari, as saying on Sunday. The indictment was accordingly served on the court of the provincial capital of the same name.
"Corruption on earth" is one of the most serious charges in the Islamic Republic's legal system. According to Dschafari, the rapper is accused of having spread "lies on the Internet and propaganda against the state". In addition, he had "formed and led illegal groups and incited violence with the aim of undermining the security of the country in cooperation with a hostile government".
Iran has been shaken by a nationwide wave of protests since mid-September. The trigger was the death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody - she had been arrested by the vice squad because she is said to have worn her headscarf improperly. The authorities are taking action against the demonstrators with increasing severity. The UN human rights commissioner Volker Türk speaks of more than 300 dead and 14,000 arrests.
Salehi sharply criticized the actions of the authorities on the Canadian broadcaster CBC at the end of October: It was a "mafia" that was ready "to kill an entire nation in order to retain its power, its money and its weapons".
Shortly thereafter, the musician, well-known in the Iranian rap scene, was arrested. In a November 2 video circulated by the state news agency Irna, he then admitted "a mistake"; However, activists believe it was a "forced confession".
According to official sources, the Iranian judiciary has handed down six death sentences and more than 2,000 charges since the protests began.
The authorities also seem determined to strictly enforce the headscarf requirement: As reported by the Iranian news agency "More", the head of a state bank in the province of Qom was fired on the instructions of the provincial governor because he had served a customer even though she was not wearing a headscarf. Managers of state institutions are required to enforce the legal requirement to wear the hijab, Deputy Governor Ahmad Hajizadeh told the agency.