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Source: AFP

Feb 26, 2024

Iran Court Changes Jail Time To Home Confinement For Pop Singer

By AFP - Agence France Presse

An Iranian court has changed the sentence against a pop singer who criticised the mandatory headscarf for women to home confinement instead of jail time, due to health issues, his lawyer said.

Mehdi Yarrahi, 42, was arrested in August for releasing an "illegal song" that challenged "the morals and customs of Islamic society". He was released on bail in October.

In January, the court sentenced Yarrahi to "a total of two years and eight months in prison" on multiple charges.

Under Iranian law jail sentences run concurrently, meaning he would only have to have served one year behind bars, which will now be changed to home confinement.

"Due to my client's illness and his need for medical care, the one-year imprisonment was changed to electronic tagging (bound with a movement radius of 1000 metres)," lawyer Zahra Minouei said on X, formerly Twitter, late Sunday.

It was not immediately clear what Yarrahi's illness was.

She said Yarrahi has been under electronic monitoring since February 20, and the court order included paying a bail of 15 billion tomans (around $270,000).

The singer released the track "Roosarito", which means "your headscarf" in Persian, shortly before the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in police custody on September 16, 2022 following her arrest for allegedly flouting Iran's mandatory hijab law for women.

Hundreds of people, including dozens of security personnel, were killed in protests that broke out across Iran after Amini's death and nine men were executed for protest-related "crimes."

Thousands of protesters were also arrested, accused by the authorities of taking part in "riots" fomented by the West.

In a three-minute video accompanying the release of "Roosarito", Yarrahi had voiced support for women's right to choose whether to wear the headscarf and dedicated the song to the "courageous Iranian women" involved in the protest movement.

Yarrahi is a past winner of the best pop singer award at the Fajr Festival, Iran's most important government-held music event.

His song "Soroode Zan" (Woman's Anthem), which was released in October 2022, became a protest anthem, particularly on university campuses.

Yarrahi has repeatedly criticised the authorities during his concerts, especially for discrimination in his ethnically diverse southwestern home province of Khuzestan.

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