Iran: Musician and filmmaker brothers released from prison, await appeal


Freemuse has learned that Iranian brothers and artists, musician Mehdi Rajabian and filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, were temporarily released on bail from Tehran’s Evin Prison on 22 June 2017.

On 23 June 2017, Mehdi Rajabian made the following post on his Instagram page:

Our incarceration has almost been suspended at this stage after bail payment and the final application of Article 134 [sentence reduction]. Of course it was you who demanded this to happen and taught us the meaning of freedom. We are very thankful to all the artists and friends who raised their voice for artistic freedom and followed up our case. The next few days will be for serious recuperation but again thank you, thank you, thank you…

The brothers’ case has been sent to the Appeal Chamber of the Revolutionary Court under Article 134 and their lawyer hopes that after the ruling the Rajabians will officially be released, reported BBC on 22 June 2017.

In a personal note to Freemuse, Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian said:

It is our pleasure to announce that with your great support, we have never felt lonely, even during the hardest time of our life. Despite the injustice we have been subject to, thinking about you and your support sustained us through the dark days of our imprisonment. And we owed this to you. We hope what happened to us would never happen to any other artist in the world and we would be the last artists who were subject to this hard experience. Though we have to live under the shadow of the suspended imprisonment for years and it makes us worried about the future of our profession, we are sure that we would be able to build up our future in company of the international artists and the organizations who support freedom of art, such as you.

Freemuse has been campaigning for the artists since January 2016. The release comes nearly 13 months after the brothers were imprisoned on a three-year sentence for their peaceful artistic expressions, and less than a month after Freemuse and the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, along with artists and other artistic freedom supporters, wrote a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calling for their release.

“Freemuse welcomes the release of the Rajabian brothers and calls on authorities to drop all charges against them so they can live, create and promote art in peace,” Dr Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director, said. “However, the reality is that artists in Iran will continue to practice their craft in fear until the government adopts and implements laws, in line with international conventions, that allow for a truly free and safe environment for artistic expression.”


Imprisoned for their art
The two brothers were imprisoned for their art on 5 June 2016 on a three-year sentence on charges of “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” through the production and promotion of underground music.

The two artists were prosecuted after a years-long sentencing and appeals process that began in October 2013. In 2013, the two brothers and a third artist, musician Yousef Emadi, were detained for two months in solitary confinement in Evin Prison. During that time, Mehdi was repeatedly tortured.


Photo: Hossein Rajabian (left) and Mehdi Rajabian (right)


Sources

» Instagram – 23 June 2017
Mehdi Rajabian post

» Voice of America – 23 June 2017
Artists Rajabian brothers released on bail

» Radio Farda – 23 June 2017
Rajabian brothers released from Evin prison

» Radio Zamaneh – 22 June 2017
Rajabian brothers released on bail from prison

» BBC – 22 June 2017
Mehdi Rajabian and Hossein Rajabian released from Evin prison on bail


More from Freemuse

» 1 June 2017: In prison for a year in Iran; artists call for musician’s and filmmaker’s release

» 20 April 2017: Iran: Musician and filmmaker returned to prison

» 5 march 2017: Iran: Musician and filmmaker attacked and threatened in prison

» 16 December 2016: Iran: Imprisoned filmmaker granted 72-hour medical leave, back in prison

» 5 December 2016: Iran: Imprisoned musician’s health deteriorating

» 28 November 2016: Iran: Imprisoned musician granted four-day medical leave

» 21 November 2016: United Nations member states urge Iran to improve human rights

» 16 November 2016: Iran: Artists’ medical condition on hunger strike growing worse

» 1 November 2016: Iran: Artists call for support in letter from prison

» 12 September 2016: Iran: Jailed artists go on hunger strike

» 24 June 2016: UN: “Artistic expression is not a crime” – Special Rapporteurs urge the Iranian government to free jailed artists

» 7 June 2016: Iran: Musician and filmmaker imprisoned

» 30 May 2016: Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker summoned to prison

» 29 February 2016: Iran: Two musicians and a filmmaker sentenced

» 27 January 2016: Iran: 165 Iranian artists and activists protest charges against two musicians and a filmmaker

» 15 January 2016: Call on Iranian authorities to drop charges on two musicians and a filmmaker

» 14 December 2015: Iran: Music distributors await appeal decision for six years in prison

» 17 December 2013: Iran: Musician and music distributors arrested

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