Iranian singer ‘sentenced to jail’ over Mahsa Amini protest anthem

Shervin Hajipour says he was sentenced to more than three years in prison for ‘inciting people to riot’.

FILE - First lady Jill Biden accepts the award for best song for social change on behalf of Shervin Hajipour for "Baraye" at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 5, 2023, in Los Angeles. The Iranian singer who won a Grammy presented by U.S. President Joe Biden's wife said Friday, March 1, 2024, that he had been sentenced to over three years in prison over his anthem supporting the 2022 protests over the death of Mahsa Amini. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
US First Lady Jill Biden awarded Hajipour a special Grammy for best song for social change [File: Chris Pizzello/AP Photo]

An Iranian singer whose song became an anthem during the 2022 mass protests has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for “inciting and provoking people to riot to disturb national security”, the 26-year-old artist posted on his Instagram account on Friday.

Shervin Hajipour won Grammys for the song Baraye (“For”) which supported the protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. Amini was detained for allegedly not wearing an appropriate hijab (headscarf), which is mandatory in the country.

It was not immediately clear when the verdict was issued, and it was not reported elsewhere. Iranian state-run media also did not report the sentencing.

But Hajipour posted it on the same day that Iran held its parliamentary elections. Voting counting is under way in the first elections since the nationwide protests.

Hajipour thanked his lawyers and his agent for their support.

“I will not mention the name of the judge and the prosecutor so that they don’t get insulted and threatened, because insults and threats are not in the religion of humanity,” he wrote. “Finally, one day we will understand each other. Until then.”

The singer already had served some prison time, but was out on bail pending the court’s decision. It was unclear if he had already reported to serve his sentence. Under Iranian law, jail sentences run concurrently, meaning Hajipour would serve three years behind bars.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York did not respond to a request for comment.

“Baraye” was played at a White House celebration in March 2023 marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

A month earlier, US First Lady Jill Biden awarded Hajipour a special Grammy for best song for social change, calling the tune a “powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights”.

Amini’s death sparked months-long protests which saw hundreds of people, including dozens of security forces, killed, and thousands of others arrested.

Hajipour’s sentencing comes as other activists, journalists and artists have faced arrest, imprisonment and harassment since the demonstrations. Among those imprisoned is Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies