An Iranian Pop Star Charged with Homosexuality Faces Possible Execution

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Kurdish Iranian pop star, Mohsen Lorestani
By The Free Iranian Staff

 

Mohsen Lorestani, (born Mohsen Pourmast) an extremely popular Iranian-Kurdish singer, has been charged with “corruption on earth” for allegedly discussing having sex with a man over Instagram. If convicted, he can be sentenced to death.

As first reported by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, Lorestani who began his career as an Islamic eulogizing singer or Maddaah, was originally arrested at his mother’s house in Tehran on March 2nd of this year, and has been imprisoned without charges until this month. The announcement of the charges only came after rumors began spreading on social media that Lorestani had died or been killed in prison.

According to Lorestani’s defense attorney, Seyyed Kazem Hosseini, the singer was charged with “corruption on earth” in Branch Four of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on October 7th. Neither the singer, nor his attorney, was present at the arraignment hearing, and they were only informed of it afterwards.

Corruption on earth is a broad legal term for offenses, coined by Ruhollah Khomeini based on a quotation from the Koran, that the regime has used to refer to almost anything that it considers “un-Islamic.” At least 38 Iranians were executed for “corruption on earth” last year.

Hosseini later elaborated that the incidents that led to Lorestani’s arrest were private messages on Instagram. “No physical thing occurred,” the lawyer stated. He then explained that by “physical thing,” he meant sexual relations and that he had had the same type of discussions with women as well. 

Then saying that everyone has private chats and their own private lives, Hosseini continued, “Some people may have gained access to my client’s account, I don’t know how these chats were discovered and why this has led to Lorestani’s arrest and indictment on a heavy charge. However, Lorestani also had a social media manager, and my client did not always have his cellphone with him.”

Hosseini also noted that several others were involved in the case but said that he could not comment on the status of their cases, only adding that Lorestani’s case had been wrongly linked with another one.

Soon after Hosseini’s press statement, the Revolutionary Court announced the release on bail of a number of dancers who had recently been arrested for making videos on Instagram.

Article 234 of the Khomeiniist regime’s Penal Code defines homosexuality as a capital crime. A classified British diplomatic cable from 2008 that was later disclosed by WikiLeaks revealed that, from 1979 until that year, between 4,000-6,000 homosexuals had been executed in Iran.

Oddly, the first song that Lorestani sang, in 2007, as a crossover from religious cantor to popular music was called Zendan (Prison).

 

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