February 4, 2023

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Iran’s top court accepts rapper Yasin’s appeal against Reuters’ death sentence

(Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Court has accepted an appeal by rapper Saman Seydi Yasin against his death sentence, despite upholding the same sentence against another protester, the judiciary said on Saturday.

Yasin, a Kurd who raps about inequality, oppression and unemployment, had been accused of trying to kill security guards, setting fire to a rubbish bin and firing guns three times during anti-government protests, allegations he denied .

Yasin’s mother asked for help to save her son in a video last week. “Where on earth have you seen a loved one’s life taken for a trash can?” she said in the video, which was posted to social media.

The court initially said it had accepted the appeals of Yasin and another protester, but a later statement by the Mizan news agency of the judiciary said only Yasin’s appeal had been accepted.

“The public relations of Iran’s Supreme Court has corrected its message: ‘Mohammad Qobadloo’s appeal has not been accepted… Saman Seydi’s appeal has been accepted by the Supreme Court,’ the agency said.

In its original statement, it justified the decision by citing flaws in its investigation of the case and said it had been referred back to the court for reconsideration.

Qobadloo had been accused of killing a police agent and injuring five others with his car during the protests.

In mid-September, unrest erupted across Iran after Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in custody and was arrested by morality police, who were enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

Late on Saturday, the 100th day of the protests, videos released on social media showed nighttime demonstrations allegedly taking place in areas including the capital Tehran, the northeastern city of Mashhad, Karaj west of Tehran and Sanandaj, the center of Kurdistan province in the northwest .

Dozens of protesters were seen braving the rain and snow, chanting slogans such as “Death to the dictator” and “Death to (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei.” Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.


Saturday’s announcement follows the Supreme Court overturning the death sentence of protester Mahan Sadrat 10 days ago. He was charged with various alleged offences, including stabbing a security guard and setting fire to a motorcycle.

Iran hanged two protesters earlier this month: Mohsen Shekari, 23, accused of blocking a main road and stabbing a member of the paramilitary Basij force in September, and Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, accused of stabbed two Basij members and publicly hung them from a construction crane.

Amnesty International called on the international community to pressure Iran to stop the execution of Qobadloo and “not allow the Iranian death machine to claim another victim while the world’s attention is focused on the celebration of the holiday”.

Amnesty said Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 26 people in so-called “sham trials aimed at intimidating those involved in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran”.

All death sentences were denied the right to an adequate defense and access to lawyers of their choice. Human rights groups say defendants must instead rely on state-appointed lawyers, who do little to defend them.

Rights group HRANA said 506 protesters had been killed as of Friday, including 69 minors. It was said that 66 members of the security forces were also killed. Up to 18,516 protesters are believed to have been arrested, it said.

Officials said up to 300 people, including members of the security forces, lost their lives in the unrest.