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Iran’s highest court upheld rapper Yasin’s appeal against the death sentence

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(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Court upheld rapper Saman Seydi Yasin’s appeal against his death sentence even as it upheld the same sentence against another protester, the judiciary said on Saturday.

Yasin, a Kurd who raps about inequality, oppression and unemployment, had been accused of attempting to kill security forces, setting fire to a trash can and shooting three times into the air during anti-government protests, charges which he denied.

Last week, Yasin’s mother asked for help in a video to save her son. “Where in the world have you seen a loved one’s life taken for a trash can?” she said in the video posted on social media.

The court had initially said it had granted appeals by Yasin and another protester, but the judiciary’s Mizan News Agency said in a subsequent statement that only Yasin’s appeal had been granted.

“The public relations agency of the Supreme Court of Iran has corrected its report: ‘Mohammad Qobadloo’s appeal has not been accepted … Saman Seydi’s appeal has been accepted by the Supreme Court,” he said the agency.

Explaining the decision in his original statement, he cited flaws in the investigation of the case and said it was being referred back to the court for reconsideration.

Qobadloo had been accused of killing a police officer and injuring five others with his car during the protests.

Unrest erupted across Iran in mid-September after the death in custody of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the moral police for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict women’s dress code.

Late Saturday evening, the 100th day of the protests, videos posted on social media showed nighttime demonstrations said to have taken place in areas including the capital Tehran, the northeastern city of Mashhad, Karaj in western Tehran and Sanandaj, the center of Kurdistan province in the North West.

Dozens of protesters were seen braving the rain and snow to chant slogans including “Death to the dictator” and “Death to (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei!” RockedBuzz via Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.

DEATH PENALTY

Saturday’s announcement follows the Supreme Court’s suspension of the death sentence of protester Mahan Sadrat 10 days ago. He had been charged with various alleged crimes such as stabbing a security officer and setting fire to a motorcycle.

Iran hanged two protesters earlier this month: Mohsen Shekari, 23, accused of blocking a main road in September and stabbing a member of the Basij paramilitary forces with a knife, and Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23 , accused of stabbing two Basij members to death, and publicly hanged from a construction crane.

Amnesty International has called on the international community to pressure Iran to stop the execution of Qobadloo and “not allow the Iranian death machine to claim another victim while (the) world is focused on celebrating the holidays”.

Amnesty said Iranian authorities were seeking the death penalty for at least 26 people in what it called “sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran”.

He said all those sentenced to death were denied the right to an adequate defense and access to lawyers of their choice. Rights groups say defendants must instead rely on state-appointed lawyers who do little to defend them.

Rights group HRANA said 506 protesters, including 69 minors, had been killed as of Friday. He said 66 security force members were also killed. As many as 18,516 protesters are believed to have been arrested.

Officials said up to 300 people, including members of the security forces, had lost their lives in the riots.

(Report by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, David Holmes and Nick Macfie)