Security agents for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the city of Isfahan arrested the popular rapper Toomaj Salehi for his songs highlighting corruption within Iran’s regime.
Salehi’s uncle, Eghbal Eghbali, announced on Instagram the arrest of Salehi, writing “They arrested my nephew…The Islamic government cannot stand the voice of protest of dissident youth. We will not be indifferent to this dirty action of the rulers.” Salehi wrote lyrics against the Iranian regime in two new songs titled “Normal Life” and “Mouse Hole.”
The arrest of Salehi electrified Iranians and human rights activists on social media, prompting the Twitter hashtag #FreeToomaj.
The UAE-based news outlet Al Arabiya reported that shortly before the rapper was arrested, Salehi wrote on his Twitter account that he faced arrest: “Well, comrades, I keep my phone away because they probably have my location through this. Don’t worry, I won’t let them arrest me because we have a lot to do with them! I will take a secure phone in a few days.”
He wrote in a second tweet, “You should know that I am not afraid of death, imprisonment, and torture. What I fear is to see women sell their bodies out of want and shut my mouth. I am afraid of watching people bend into the trash bin up to their waist [to find food] but remain silent; to see you beat a worker and stay quiet; to witness your killing of a protester and torturing of his justice-seeking family, and shut up… There’s a sea of blood between you and me.”
Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday “Toomaj Salehi became popular with his rap song about Iran-China 25-Year Agreement. Iranians desperately asked the Iranian artists to be their voice and raise public awareness about this agreement. Toomaj did it with his rap. He rapped the truth and became popular. He continued to be the voice of the oppressed Iranians, especially the political prisoners and impoverished people. In his songs, Toomaj criticized the systematic corruption in the Islamic Republic. He mentioned the exact crimes being committed by the regime and because of the regime’s incompetency such as organ/child trafficking, forced prostitution due to poverty, and the crimes that the regime’s officials and their children commit with Iranians’ stolen wealth.”
Source: The Jerusalem Post