On October 30, 2022, the rapper Toomaj Salehi was arrested in Iran for his dissident lyrics. His Kurdish colleague Saman Yasin has already been in prison since October 2, 2022, and was sentenced to death in a show trial. Both have been subjected to severe torture and ill-treatment.
We call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to suspend the death penalty in Yasin’s case and to drop the charges against Toomaj Salehi – he too could face the death penalty. We call on the German federal government to do everything possible to save the lives of Toomaj Salehi and Saman Yasin: »waging war against God« (moharebeh) and »corruption on earth« (ifsad fil-arz) are charges for which people should no longer be allowed to die in the 21st century.
As rappers, the two artists work with the word. Because of their free word, their lives are under threat. They are our colleagues. Now they are honorary members of PEN Berlin – harming Toomaj Salehi and Saman Yasin would be an unforgivable crime. We want to do everything we can to prevent it.
»Don’t cry when if I die tomorrow, because today you were not by my side«, Toomaj Salehi said shortly before his arrest. Toomaj and Saman: We are by your side!