Iranian Rapper Faces Death Penalty For Protesting

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi (Photo: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images)

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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Dissident Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi could face the death penalty for protesting the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman.

Police arrested Mahsa (Jina) Amini on Sept. 13 for allegedly wearing an improper hijab. She died three days later, which sparked a nationwide uprising. (Iran Threatened Its World Cup Team With Imprisonment And Torture, According To CNN Source)

Salehi encouraged Iranians on Instagram to support the uprising in any way they could, while fellow demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans.

He also sang lyrics against the Iranian government. “We come from the bottom, we hit the top of the pyramid,” Salehi’s most recent song opened, The Washington Post reported. He described the upheaval as Iran’s “year of colossal failure.” He rapped about the injustice of the Iranian justice system, including someone’s crime was for hair “that moved in the wind,” referring to the mandatory hijab laws.

Police arrested him less than a week later for his crime of committing “corruption on earth.”

Asadollah Jafari said Nov. 27 that Salehi faces other charges, including “propaganda activity against the establishment, forming an illegal group with the intention of disrupting the security of the country, cooperating with hostile governments, and spreading lies and inciting others to commit violence,” Radio Free Europe reported.

As of Wednesday, an online petition demanding Salehi’s release has gathered more than 325,000 signatures.