Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Iran: Musicians and Activists Launch Campaign to Free Jailed Artists

Amnesty International and renowned Iranian music band Kiosk are calling on artists and members of the public around the world to join a #FreeArtists campaign to demand that Iran immediately and unconditionally release jailed artists, including a musician and a filmmaker who are on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

The brothers, musician Mehdi Rajabian and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, are currently serving three-year prison terms. They were convicted in 2015 after a blatantly unfair trial before a Revolutionary Court of charges that included “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “illegal audio-visual activities”. On 28 October 2016, they began their second hunger strike in protest against their imprisonment.

A third artist Keywan Karimi has also been sentenced to six years’ in prison for “insulting Islamic sanctities”, also related to his artistic work and is at imminent risk of imprisonment.

“Expressing yourself through art is not a crime and it is outrageous that the Iranian authorities have resorted to locking up artists and musicians simply for their artistic work. Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian are prisoners of conscience who shouldn’t be forced to spend a single minute behind bars. The Iranian authorities must order their immediate and unconditional release,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  

“Their imprisonment is yet another nail in the coffin for freedom of expression in Iran. The human right to liberty is sadly so undervalued by the Iranian authorities that they are prepared to condemn individuals to years in jail just to silence artistic voices that they deem as ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘anti-revolutionary’.”

The brothers have put their health at risk by going on hunger strike as a last resort to demand their freedom. They have said they will refuse intravenous drips until they are released from prison.

Since his hunger strike, Mehdi Rajabian has coughed up blood twice and says that he was punched in the stomach by a prison doctor after being taken to the prison clinic. Amnesty International is also demanding that the Iranian authorities ensure both brothers have access to a qualified health professional.

For more information about Amnesty International’s #FreeArtists campaign see:

Amnesty International campaign to free jailed artists

Jailed Iranian artist brothers on hunger strike  

Iran: Free Artists! Amnesty International and KIOSK unite voices blog and video

###

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

'I Had a Duty of Care': Doctor Praised for Violating Texas' New Abortion Ban

"I hope the law gets overturned," Dr. Alan Braid said, "and if this is what does it, that would be great."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Infuriating Disappointment': Biden DHS Ramping Up Deportations to Haiti

"It is unconscionable for the Biden administration to resume deportation flights to Haiti, despite the country's ongoing political, economic, and environmental disasters."

Jessica Corbett ·


Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe

"Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated, religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ahead of Canadian Election, Bernie Sanders and Rashida Tlaib Endorse NDP

"Bernie, you have fought courageously for public healthcare, affordable medication, making the rich pay their fair share, and tackling the climate crisis," said party leader Jagmeet Singh. "We're doing the same here."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Urged to End Drone Strikes After Pentagon Says Killing 10 Afghan Civilians Was 'Horrible Mistake'

"That was not a 'mistake,'" said journalist Anand Giridharadas. "War crimes are not oopsies."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo