Iranian musician risks his freedom to promote human rights
Mehdi Rajabian is an Iranian musician who has been jailed twice for producing albums and supporting prohibited artists and female vocalists, who are forbidden to sing in Iran.
At 30 years old, Rajabian runs a production company called Bargmusic, and he fears he could be arrested again at any time.
Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, music on TV and the radio has been banned in the Islamic republic. Former Ayatollah Khomeini compared music with opium and said it made the mind idle and senseless. After Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, hopes were high that activists and artists would be granted civil liberties, but these hopes were soon dashed.
However, the ongoing ban has not stopped Iranian artists from working underground to produce music and promote human and civil rights.
Read more: There is ‘no light on the horizon’ in Iran
Rajabian, who is from the small province of Mazandaran in northern Iran, started releasing his songs at the age of 17. He was jailed for three months in 2013 on charges of blasphemy, propaganda against the regime and unauthorized artistic activities. In 2015, he was sentenced to six years in jail, and was released on parole after spending two years at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. He is currently not allowed to leave Iran.
“I compiled an album about the wars that Iran was involved in and I called them absurd, especially the Iran-Iraq war, which was a historical mistake,” Rajabian told DW from an undisclosed location.
“My activism started very early, and I went through solidarity confinement at very young age,” he said. Rajaban also said he was tortured in prison and went on a hunger strike.
“I spent almost two years in a general ward and three months in solitary confinement. As a protest in prison, I went on a hunger strike and lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds). I became weak and feeble and I vomited blood,” Rajabian said.
Read more at: DW
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