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Source: AFP

Mar 1, 2024

Iran Pop Star Who Sang Protest Anthem Gets 3 Years' Jail

By AFP - Agence France Presse

An Iranian pop singer whose song became an anthem during mass protests more than a year ago has been sentenced to at least three years in prison, he said Friday.

Shervin Hajipour, 26, wrote and published "Baraye" during nationwide demonstrations triggered by the September 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, had been arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic republic's strict dress code for women.

On Friday, Hajipour said on his Instagram page that he had been sentenced to three years in prison for "inciting and provoking people to riot to disturb national security".

He was also handed an eight-month sentence for "propaganda against the regime".

It was not immediately clear when the verdict was issued, and it was not reported elsewhere.

Under Iranian law, jail sentences run concurrently, meaning Hajipour would serve three years behind bars.

"Baraye" was played at a White House celebration in March 2023 marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

A month earlier, US First Lady Jill Biden awarded Hajipour a special Grammy for best song for social change, calling the tune a "powerful and poetic call for freedom and women's rights".

Covering the neck and head has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1983, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Amini's death sparked months-long protests which saw hundreds of people, including dozens of security forces, killed and thousands of others arrested.

Hajipour was briefly arrested during the protests.

In January, an Iranian court sentenced another pop singer who criticised the mandatory headscarf for women to one year in prison.

Mehdi Yerrahi's sentence was changed to home confinement instead of jail time, due his health issues, his lawyer said.

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