Iranian musician, 30, is arrested and charged over claims he let women sing and dance in online art video
- Mehdi Rajabian, 30, was summoned to the Revolutionary Court of Sari Tuesday
- He’s been in & out of Tehran’s Evin prison since 2013 for anti-regime crimes
- ‘I did an interview about a new album featuring female singers, where a female voice will be in the piece of music,’ he said
An Iranian musician has been arrested on charges of aiding women to sing and dance, a new report has alleged.
Mehdi Rajabian, 30, who has already been imprisoned twice on charges relating to his music production, said he was summoned to Revolutionary Court of Sari on Tuesday morning by a police officer.
‘I was interrogated by the police, and I was asked to appear in court. I was arrested immediately until my family released me on bail. I was detained for several hours,’ Rajabian told Fox News from his home in Sari, northeast Iran, on Tuesday night.
‘I did an interview about a new album featuring female singers, where a female voice will be in the piece of music,’ he said.
‘I have always said that I will fight for the freedom of music as long as I live, and I have no fear. I was arrested for several hours. Of course, I experienced prison and solitary confinement and a long hunger strike many times. Of course, I would be in prison now if my lawyer did not post bail.’
Rajaban has spent time in Iran’s notorious Evin jail in Tehran twice before. The first time, he was caged for three months and spent those in solitary confinement. The second, he received a six-year term and was prohibited from engaging in musical activities, the BBC reported.
In his most recent arrest, police told the 30-year-old ‘not to do anything’ and that if he engaged in music, his bail would be revoked.
‘Nothing is unpredictable in Iranian courts. They decide for me whatever they want, but it does not matter to me at all,’ he told Fox News.
‘The Iranian regime hates me. They all banned me from working and studying and leaving Iran. Now the pressure is on me not to even produce another work of art. It means complete death. In general, their plan is my complete destruction.’
On the prospect of returning to Evin prison he said he was concerned about the growing coronavirus cases recorded in jails, but added that he will ‘not censor himself’ from expressing the belief that ‘we need females singing and dancing.’
‘My friends in Evin reported that there was a coronavirus in the prison cells. Of course, I was in Evin prison for about two years. I was punished in the worst cells of Evin,’ Rajaban said.
‘(But) even if I go to prison hundreds of times, I believe we need females singing and dancing, and joining with the philosophy and the thinking. I will still produce this; I will not censor myself.’
Just last year, a pop group was banned by Iran’s religious police after a female guitarist sang a 12 second solo at their concert in Tehran.
Negin Parsa was playing guitar in singer Hamid Askari’s well known band on January 30 at the Milad Tower concert venue.
But Iranian law – which is dictated by Islamic Sharia law – only permits that women sing in front of other women and can only sing in front of men as part of a duet or chorus.
Despite the tough restrictions on certain types of music, Rajaban said he became enamoured with music from a young age.
‘I was born in a small province in Iran. I was always passionate about music; I would drown in the imagination of color and fairytale while listening to music,’ he told Fox News. ‘This childish, visual view of music made me see it as a means to carry an artistic message.’
‘Remember what difficulties we go through here to produce just one work of art,’ Rajabian added.
‘My musical notes will come to you from the barbed wire of the prison, (even with) the pressure of the Iranian regime, the absolute ban, the non-cooperation of artists in Iran. Do not enjoy our art, find suffering in it.’
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