2 Musician Brothers on Hunger Strike in Evin PrisonPublished by International Liberty Association on October 7, 2016
Mehdi and Hossain Rajabian, two imprisoned artists, have started a hunger strike in protest to changing their wards. They started this protest in response to their separation as a punishment, which came after the discussion between them and the supervisor prosecutor of the prison.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mehdi and Hossain Rajabian have started a hunger strike in protest at their separation during which one of them was transferred to another ward, on September 7 in Evin prison.
A close source to these prisoners told HRANA’s reporter, “Mehdi was forcefully transferred to ward number 8 and Hossian is still being kept in ward number 7. These brothers started a hunger strike and demand to serve their sentences together”.
This informed source explained the reason of this transfer, “Apparently Mehdi had a discussion with Mr. Rostami, supervisor prosecutor of the prison”.
These artist brothers were sentenced to 6 years in prison and fine, by Judge Moghiseh of branch number 28 of revolutionary court, on charge of propaganda against the regime and sacrilege.
These sentences were reduces to three years in prison and 200 million IRRs fine for each of them.
Rajabian brothers showed up in Evin prison on June 5 to serve their sentences.
Amnesty international demanded the cancellation of the sentences of these artists in a statement and announced that Hossain Rajabian, filmmaker and the two musicians, Mehdi Rajabian and Yousef Emadi were sentenced to imprisonments for their artistic activities and they if imprisoned will be considered as prisoner of conscience.
Mehdi Rajabia, Hossain Rajabian and Yousef Emadi had been arrested in their office in Sari in October 2013. They were kept in an unknown location for 18 days, and went under harassment and tortures including electric shock, and then were transferred to ward 2-A of Evin prison.
After two months in solitary confinement and interrogation in ward 2-A, they were released on a bail of 2 billion IRR.
According to an informed source they were under pressure for TV confessions against themselves during interrogations, and the interrogator had threatened them that if they would not comply, they would be sentenced to lifetime prison.
These three artists were sentenced to 6 years in prison and fine, in the primary court, on charge of propaganda against the regime and blasphemy, in branch number 28 of the revolutionary court in December 2015.
An informed source told HRANA’s reporter, “The trial took few minutes and the presence of a lawyer was meaningless and there was no opportunity for any defense”.
The appeal court was held in January 2016 in branch number 54 by judge Babayi.
They were deprived of having lawyer throughout all of the process of their cases and even in the appeal court the judge has told them that having a lawyer was “meaningless” and they had to explain everything themselves. Despite their explanation that their confessions were taken under pressure, they were used as evidences against them.
165 musicians, filmmakers, scholars and activists, by signing a petition expressed their concerns and complains about the heavy sentences for Mehdi Rajabian, Music composer Se-Tar (music instrument) player and founder of Barg Music press; Hossain Rajabian, filmmaker and Yousef Emadi, music composer and asked for immediate and unconditional freedom of these artists and end of these type of behaviors with artists.