Iran’s Supreme Court accepts rapper Yassin’s appeal against the death sentence

Dec 24 (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Court accepted an appeal by rapper Saman Sedi Yassin against his death sentence, although it upheld the same sentence against another protester, the judiciary said on Saturday.

Yassin, a Kurd who raps about inequality, oppression and unemployment, was accused of trying to kill security forces, setting fire to a garbage can and shooting three times in the air during anti-government protests, charges he denied.

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

The court initially said it had accepted the appeals of Yassin and another protester, but in a subsequent statement to the court news agency Mizan, it said only Yassin’s appeal had been accepted.

“Public relations of the Supreme Court of Iran corrected its news: ‘Mohammad Kobadlou’s appeal was not accepted… Saman Seydi’s appeal was accepted by the Supreme Court,'” the agency said.

Explaining the decision in his initial statement, he cited flaws in the investigation into the case and said it had been returned to court for a retrial.

Kobadlu was accused of killing a police agent and injuring five others with his car during the protests.

Riots erupted in Iran in mid-September after the death in custody of a Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women.

Late Saturday, on the 100th day of protests, videos posted on social media showed nighttime demonstrations 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 rain and snow to chant slogans including “Death to the dictator” and “Death to (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei!” Reuters could not immediately confirm the videos.


Saturday’s announcement follows the Supreme Court’s reversal of protester Mahan Sadrat’s death sentence 10 days ago. He was charged with various alleged crimes such as stabbing a security officer and setting fire to a motorcycle.

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

Amnesty International called on the international community to put pressure on Iran to halt Kobadlu’s execution and “not allow Iran’s death machine to claim another victim while (the world’s) attention is focused on celebrating the festive season”.

Amnesty said Iranian authorities were seeking the death penalty for at least 26 people in what it called “sham trials designed to intimidate participants in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran”.

It said that all those facing death sentences had been denied the right to an adequate defense and access to lawyers of their choice. Rights groups say defendants must instead rely on state-appointed lawyers who do little to defend them.

Human rights group HRANA said 506 protesters had been killed as of Friday, including 69 minors. It said 66 members of the security forces were also killed. An estimated 18,516 protesters were arrested, it said.

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

Report from Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, David Holmes and Nick McPhee

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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