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Iranian singer imprisoned because of song during protests

Kodoom reports that “Following last December’s bloody suppression of Iranian reformists’ demonstrations, Youtube videos of a soulful song about fighting injustice were shared by thousands of Iranians. The singer and lyricist of the popular song was unknown. A few months later, Arya Aramnejad, a young singer songwriter from Northern Iranian city of Babol was arrested for “actions against regime’s security,” apparently in relation to the popular song of resistance. Yesterday, Arya was responding to inquisitions in the Iranian Court.

He spoke of torture, solitary confinement in a 30-square-feet cell, and death threats inside the prison. He was told his lyrics and poems about the injustice done to the Muslim Shia Saint (Imam Ali) were not acceptable.”

This is Arya’s heroic defense (what he said) in front of the Islamic court (from the Azarmehr blog):

“I am standing before you in this court so that the Almighty will be a witness before you and I. A witness to what is happening today to our beloved Iran and to its brave sons and daughters. So that upon the judgement day when we are held accountable, those of us who stand proud and those of us who hold our heads down will remember that such is destiny. The final reward and punishment is only by God.

If justice was the benchmark, instead of me standing trial today, it should have been those who have disgraced Iran and Islam who should have been standing trial. The very people who want to plunder Iran’s wealth and use Islam to cover up their foray and despotism.

I was arrested on 15th February when the intelligence ministry agents broke into my house. They smashed up our furniture and rummaged through our belongings just to maximise their intimidation. This was all because of a song I had written that according to the gentlemen had ‘endangered the national security’. After that, I spent 44 days in solitary confinement where I was put under a series of emotional, mental and physical tortures. Allow me to describe just a small part of what I was put through:

- Hurling insults and profanities to belittle me, even ridiculing the way I looked
- Intimidating me by threatening to arrest my wife, even though she has had no political activities or played a role in anything I have done
- Insulting my war veteran brother and threatening to arrest him as well if I did not co-operate
- Intelligence agent threatening me with death (He said to me I can easily kill you outside here with a single bullet and no one can question me)
- Prison officials threatening me with execution
- Keeping me in a 2 metre by 1.5 metre cell without any hygiene facilities that led to infected boils all over my body
- Deliberate negligence in giving me my medication related to my heart problem
- Putting me in a cell next to an inmate with AIDS and making me walk with bare feet on his blood after he had committed suicide by slashing his wrists
- Giving me insinuating offensive information about my wife
- Stripping me naked in front of an agent who was holding a camera in his hand, who kept laughing and asking me ‘are you scared?’ every time I protested at his immoral behaviour
- Severe physical beating when I asked to see the prison doctor, beatings so bad that the marks were visible all over me for a long time
- Chaining my hands and feet for long periods of time

And these were just a small glimpse of what I went through during my detention.

After the Ashura uprising which resulted in so many of my compatriots being killed, I felt it was my duty to condemn this inhumanity and use my musical talents in doing so. I wrote and composed a song, which became known as ‘Ali, Rise up’. The content of this song is to do with the exploitation of God, the Koran and the Imams by a bunch of impostors to achieve their demonic goals. In this song, I asked the Imams for help in uprooting lies and hypocrisy. Is it not strange that in these days to ask the Imams for help in battling against evil is considered a crime in our country?

Imam Hussein was martyred for good to triumph against evil, so should we not expect the same from his followers? Or are we just supposed to ceremoniously beat our heads and beat up our chests and pretend we despise tyrants and despots?

I do not recognise this man as our president! Am I then not a Muslim? On the day of Ashura, I chanted ‘God is Great’ and I am proud of calling His name. Surely whoever jails me for chanting ‘God is Great’ is a non-believer and an infidel himself.

Those who make out they are Muslims these days, themselves disregard the most basic teachings. They easily lie to nation of seventy million and make false promises, and feign that they want to glorify Iran and Islam. Iran and Islam are both much grander than having the need for such claimants.

The constitution has to be made clear. It gives me the right to criticise. It gives me the right to take part in gatherings without carrying weapons, it gives me the right to free speech and free thought. And because of this constitution that our fathers voted for, I am free not to be indifferent to the destiny of my country. Interestingly instead of being commended, I have to stand trial today for this.

Sadly in the report made by the intelligence ministry, it is stated that I have written an insulting song against Mu‘āwiya and posted it on my blog. Has the intelligence ministry now become defenders of Mu‘āwiya and Yazid? In another section of the report it says, I made up this song against the Supreme Leader, which is the most comical part of the report. The song is clearly against those who desecrated the sanctities of Ashura, but it seems the intelligence ministry is insistent that someone else is responsible for all this. Such is the illusion of power by those who seek the temporary reigns of power.

These policies of mass oppression and intimidation are dictated by which eternal power that justifies silence. Which divine laws allow such invasions of privacy into people’s homes and into the privacy of people’s private beliefs? and not tolerate the slightest of criticisms? These self interest seeking persons who claim to be kinder child minders than our own mothers, not only think they own this land but consider any non-conformity a crime and trample on the basic rights of our citizens. I recommend, in a brotherly way, some reality check and some insight than just having your eyes fixated on the seats of power; for rectifying your mistakes in the future will be much harder.

Respected judge, I am worried today about your judgement, for my interrogators said you are their puppet and will do whatever they tell you to do. I hope God will reveal you the truth, so that God forbid, you will not be held accountable for what others have asked you do for them in another world.

In the end, I reject all charges against me and ask you to find me not guilty.”

According to Daneshjoo News, Adeleh Ziaei, a poet and writer whose license for publishing books has been canceled by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance a long time ago, had published a note titled “I’m Sorry” to her husband’s blog after he was arrested in March 2010.

This blog post reads as “I’m sorry to say that Arya was wrong to think that in his beloved country, terms such as Law, Freedom, oh! Freedom! Dignity and Justice mean anything besides merely seductive words; he was wrong that he didn’t know this is Iran, a place where anything may take place and whoever has the power can accomplish whatever he wants!”

Last information from his blog says that they the court hasn’t made their decision but his family thinks they should hear back within the next two weeks. You can sign the petition here.

Below is the song written by Arya, which has been deemed to ‘endanger the national security of the country’:
5 Comments
Parazit's Interview of Ashtiani's Lawyer | S. MostofiOctober 11th, 2010 at 7:17 am
including the singer and songwriter, Arya Aramnejad (also mentioned on this blog in a previous post), who have fought for their rights with dignity and courage. Kambiz reminds all of us who may have GolOctober 16th, 2010 at 7:46 pm
Arya and Adeleh are touched with grace and give us courage in the midst of their suffering. You are truly the seeds of inspiration and the voice of sanity amongst this hell. I only hope to gain one ounce of your courage. YOur letter reflects and addresses all that needs to be said to any one that is willing to see and just. I will keep your picture in our home and keep you in my thoughts until the day you are free. I will forward this petition to all I know to help in any way I can.
May your rightousness continue to give you strength.
autoversicherungOctober 19th, 2010 at 7:36 pm
last few days our group held a similar discussion about this topic and you show something we haven’t covered yet, thanks.

- Kris
Debt SettlementOctober 28th, 2010 at 8:02 pm
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Arya Armnejad's Birthday | S. MostofiJune 4th, 2011 at 10:19 am
3rd was Arya Aramnejad’s birthday. Arya was arrested and sentenced to prison after singing a protest song during the June 2009 elections. During his trial last year he gave a

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last update: 3/17/2016 8:00