Imprisoned Kurdish rapper Saman Yasin, who was arrested by Iranian security forces during anti-government protests in Tehran in September 2022, continues to be held in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, Alborz Province, in a state of uncertainty and without access to medical services.
The Kurdish political prisoner’s trial in Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, under the jurisdiction of Judge Amouzad, has faced unexplained delays in recent months.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that Yasin, who was transferred from Evin Prison in Tehran to Karaj’s Ghezel Hesar Prison in September 2023 along with 12 other political prisoners, is facing health problems due to ongoing medication strikes and being denied access to medical services.
The rapper is struggling with respiratory problems due to a torn left nasal cavity, a result of torture during interrogations, as well as bleeding in his digestive system.
Reza Shafakhah, Yasin’s legal representative, expressed concern in a statement on his X account, formerly known as Twitter, in December 2023, stating, “Despite more than a year having passed since my client’s detention order was issued, he is still being held in violation of the law”.
Shafakhah also expressed concern for his client’s health, stating: “Medically, he cannot endure further detention. Therefore, the matter has been referred to the medical commission and we are waiting for the results”.
In an audio recording obtained by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) in August 2023, Yasin detailed torture during his detention, ranging from threats of staged execution to having his nose ripped open during interrogations, all under pressure to make forced confessions.
Since his initial arrest, Yasin has been transferred several times between Evin Prison in Tehran, Rajai Shahr Prison and Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj.
Yasin, who comes from Kermanshah, western Iran, was arrested after he was beaten by security forces during the anti-government protests in Tehran on 30 September 2022.
After his arrest, Yasin was first taken to the Public Prosecutor’s Security Office in Evin Prison and then transferred to the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary.
On 29 October 2022, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state news agencies reported that a court hearing was held for several arrested protesters, including Saman Yasin.
On the same day, a video of the singer’s forced “confessions” was released by state media.
The state-run outlets said that the Kurdish artist had been charged with “enmity against God” (moharebeh), which carries the death penalty in Iran, and “assembly and collusion with the intention of acting against the security of the country”.
Yasin’s death sentence verdict was issued by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, presided over by Judge Amouzad.
After Yasin’s death sentence was issued, he and two other prisoners on death row, Mohsen Shekari and Mohammad Boroughani, were transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj on 29 November 2022.
Mohsen Shekari was executed on 8 December 2022 after 75 days in detention.
In late December 2022, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned Yasin’s death sentence due to “lack of investigation” and referred it to the same court for reinvestigation and retrial.
The document sent to Yasin in prison stated that the charges brought against him were “assembly and collusion with the intention of committing a crime against the security of the country”, and “disturbing the public order and peace”.
Since his arrest, Yasin has been interrogated several times and subjected to physical and mental torture, including solitary confinement, being kept in a room known as “the morgue”, severe beating, sticking a pen in his left nostril, being thrown down from stairs, and being forced to make “confessions” under duress.
He has also gone on hunger strike several times to protest against his harsh conditions in prison and the state of uncertainty of his case.
On 20 December 2022, Yasin attempted suicide by swallowing pills due to the harsh detention conditions in Hall 31 of Ward 10 of Rajai Shahr Prison. He received the initial treatment at the prison hospital and was then moved to the political prisoners’ ward.
Additionally, on 22 July 2023, on the orders of Judge Salavati, Yasin was transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj to Amin Abad Psychiatric Hospital. After a few days of forced hospitalisation, he was returned to prison.
His involuntary hospitalisation at Amin Abad Psychiatric Hospital followed the circulation of an earlier audio message on social media platforms detailing his recent condition.
On 1 August 2023, Yasin and eight other political prisoners – Saeid Masouri, Afshin Baymani, Motalleb Ahmadian, Hamzeh Savari, Loghman Aminpour, Mohammad Shafei, Hossein Gachlou, and Masoud Kazeminezhad – were transferred from Rajai Shahr Prison to Ward 8 of Evin Prison in Tehran.
After a few weeks, the political prisoner was transferred from Evin Prison to Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj, along with 12 other political prisoners.