This article was written by Golnaz Esfandiari and Fereshteh Ghazi and originally published on rferl.org.
Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour risked arrest when he recently posted a song on Instagram about the anti-government protests raging across the country.
Those fears were realized on September 29, when the young artist was arrested by police officers in Tehran, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda has learned. His current whereabouts remain unknown. It is also unclear what, if any, charges were brought against him.
Before it was removed from the social media platform on the same day, Hajipour’s song had garnered more than 40 million views.
His moving song is based on the outpouring of public anger following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16. Her death has triggered more than two weeks of daily protests in the country.
The protests have provoked a deadly state crackdown, with law enforcement and security forces killing scores of demonstrators and detaining hundreds of others, according to human rights groups.
Amini was detained by Iran’s morality police on September 13 for allegedly violating the country’s hijab law. Three days later, she was declared dead in a hospital. Activists and relatives say she was killed as a result of blows to the head sustained in detention. The authorities claim she died of a heart attack.
Since her death, Amini’s name has become a rallying cry against decades of state discrimination and violence.
Hajipour’s song is composed of tweets by Iranians following Amini’s death. Many of the tweets blame the country’s social, economic, and political ills on the country’s clerical regime.
“For the shame of having no money,” reads one of the tweets in Hajipour’s song.
“For the fear of kissing a lover on the street,” says another tweet.
“For the political prisoners,” adds a tweet.
Musician Shervin Hajipour, whose video about the ongoing protests in #Iran has garnered tens of millions of views, has reportedly been arrested. #OpIran #MahsaAmini #IranRevolution#مهسا_امینی #اعتصابات_سراسری pic.twitter.com/tNixoidxzQ— IranHumanRights.org (@ICHRI) September 29, 2022
Washington-based political activist Ali Afshari said Hajipour had become “the voice of the protesters.”
“His song describes the various problems of the people and the course of events leading to the [current] nationwide protests. Young people like him bring hope for the future,” Afshari said on Twitter on September 29.
Many Iranian social media users have criticized Hajipour’s arrest on unknown charges.
Hajipour is among the dozens of artists, activists, and journalists who have been arrested since the protests erupted.
On September 29, police also arrested poet Mona Borzouei, who had published a poem in support of the protests.
“We will take back this homeland from your clutches,” said Borzouei, reciting her poem in a video posted on social media on September 22.
The authorities also arrested female artist Donya Rad, who attracted online praise after she posted a photo of herself eating out in Tehran without a head scarf in an image that went viral on social media. Rad’s sister said she was taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Authorities have also stepped up their warnings against public figures and celebrities who have backed the protests and criticized the state crackdown.
“We will take action against the celebrities who have fanned the flames of the riots,” Tehran provincial Governor Mohsen Mansouri was quoted as saying on September 39 by the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
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