Tortured filmmaker and musicians face jail
Filmmaker Hossein Rajabian, his brother Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi, both musicians, have been sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment and fined 200 million Rials (about US$6,625). They had been convicted, after a three-minute trial, of the charges of “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “spreading propaganda against the system”, and “illegal audio-visual activities” before Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 26 April 2015. The charges against them arose from their artistic work, including Hossein Rajabian’s feature film dealing with women’s right to divorce in Iran and Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi’s distribution of unlicensed music. Their appeal was heard on 22 December 2015 before Branch 54 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran. All three men are at liberty while they await the verdict of their appeal.
Hossein Rajabian, Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi had been arrested, tasered, and blindfolded by Revolutionary Guards officials on 5 October 2013 while they were working in their office in the northern city of Sari, Mazandaran Province. For the next 18 days, they were held at an unknown location where it is believed they were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, including by electric shocks. They were then transferred to solitary confinement in Section 2A of Tehran’s Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, where they were held for the next two months. Their interrogators apparently pressured them into making televised “confessions”, threatening them with life in jail if they failed to do so. All three were released on bail in December 2013. At their appeal hearing, the judge told them that having a lawyer was “pointless” and that they would have to offer “full explanations” themselves. Their “confessions” were used as evidence against them to secure their convictions even though they told the judge that they were obtained through torture. They had no access to a lawyer at any stage of their arrest, detention, trial or appeal.