Solidarity organisation condemns cultural terrorism in Iran 

Press release

For immediate use

30th April 2024 

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called the death sentence imposed upon Iranian rapper, Toomaj Salehi, an act of cultural terrorism by the Iranian regime.  Calling for the unjust sentence to be quashed CODIR General Secretary, Gawain Little, voiced the organisation’s ongoing concern at the lack of freedom of expression in the Islamic Republic.

“Iran is a country with a significant youth population and popular artists like Toomaj Salehi are increasingly expressing the discontent that many young people feel about the theocratic dictatorship”, said Mr Little.  “To sentence an artist to death, charged with ‘corruption on earth’, for nothing more than speaking out against the government is nothing short of cultural terrorism.”   

Salehi was originally imprisoned for taking part in a peaceful protest, a verdict initially overturned by Iran’s Supreme Court before being reversed by a lower court in a bizarre manipulation of Iran’s judicial system.

The lower court, a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Isfahan, regarded the decision of the Supreme Court as ‘guidance’, before proceeding to confirm Salehi’s imprisonment and impose a death sentence upon him.  The court alleged that Salehi had aided rebellion, committed assembly and collusion against the state, propaganda against the state and incited riots. 

Salehi was originally arrested in October 2022 for participating in the countrywide Women, Life, Freedom movement protests, sparked by the murder in detention of Mahsa Amini the previous month.  In July 2023 Salehi was handed a prison sentence of 18 year and 3 months for the original ‘corruption on earth’ charge.

While his case was referred to the lower court in Isfahan he was granted bail on 18 November 2023 only to be arrested less than two weeks later, on 30 November, for speaking out against the torture he endured while imprisoned.

Salehi, aged34, had gained widespread popularity with the youth of Iran, due to the challenging content of his lyrics, which addressed issues such as ethnic discrimination, child labour, human rights violations and protest activity.

Salehi’s lawyers have vowed that they will appeal but without massive international pressure the regime is unlikely to change its stance.

CODIR has called for the international community to intervene, through the United Nations, to call for the release of all political prisoners and the dropping of charges against Toomaj Salehi. 

CODIR requests that trade union affiliates write to the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to make clear their opposition to the death sentence imposed upon Toomaj Salehi.

CODIR is also asking for individuals to write to their local MP, drawing their attention to the plight of Toomaj Salehi and demanding his freedom. 


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR:-

Postal Address:

Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.  Major trade unions in Britain are affiliated to CODIR and support its campaign for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice in Iran.

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.


Central Executive Council


Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.