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Iran sentences rapper Toomaj Salehi to death over 2022-23 unrest, lawyer tells paper

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Iran sentences rapper Toomaj Salehi to death over 2022-23 unrest, lawyer tells paper

FILE PHOTO: Pro-government peoples rally against the recent protest gatherings in Iran, after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran September 23, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Pro-government peoples rally against the recent protest gatherings in Iran, after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran September 23, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo© Thomson Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) -An Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced well-known Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi to death for charges linked to Iran's 2022-23 unrest, his lawyer told Iranian newspaper Sharq on Wednesday.

Salehi in his songs supported months of protests in Iran in 2022 sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.

Salehi was initially arrested in October 2022 after making public statements in support of the nationwide protests.

He was sentenced in 2023 to six years and three months in prison, but avoided a death sentence due to a Supreme Court ruling.

"Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of (the central city of) Isfahan in an unprecedented move, did not enforce the Supreme Court's ruling .... and sentenced Salehi to the harshest punishment," his lawyer Amir Raisian told Sharq.

FILE PHOTO: People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police", in Tehran, Iran September 21, 2022. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo© Thomson Reuters

Iranian judiciary has not confirmed the sentence yet. Salehi has 20 days to appeal the ruling.

"We will definitely appeal this verdict," his lawyer said.

The U.S. Office of the Special Envoy for Iran deplored the sentence, calling it in a statement posted on X an example "of the regime’s brutal abuse of its own citizens, disregard for human rights, and fear of the democratic change the Iranian people seek."

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; writing by Elwely Elwelly, Parisa Hafezi and Paul Grant; Editing by Alison Williams, Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler 

Story by Reuters

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