Musician and filmmaker Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian were denied an extension for a temporary leave from prison for medical treatment.

The brothers were not allowed to extend their seven-day temporary leave. They requested for more time outside prison for Mehdi to get medical treatment. The temporary leave in Iran is usually granted to prisoners for family or religious reasons, but it is often denied to political prisoners as an additional form of punishment.

Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian managed to get a seven-day leave, during which the young brother underwent a medical examination. Doctors confirmed that Mehdi has multiple sclerosis. The brothers sent the medical report to a court, which should rule that the musician is not physically fit to be in prison. The brothers hope he will at least be allowed to get medical care in a hospital. Nevertheless, the brothers’ request was denied. They will wait for the court’s ruling in prison.

Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian, as well as their colleague Yousef Emadi are founders of the underground music label Barg Music, which was closed by the authorities after their arrest. They repeatedly applied to Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for official permission to work, but failed to pass censorship. As a result, they had to work illegally. For Iranian musicians, BargMusic and similar underground labels are the only way to record and distribute their music.

The trial against the BargMusic founders lasted 15 minutes. All of them were found guilty of “insulting sanctities” and “propaganda against the state” and sentenced to six years in jail. Their offenses include distributing music without a licence, working with female singers (women can’t perform solo in Iran), collaborating with banned Iranian musicians in exile. Their sentence was reduced to three years upon appeal. Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian and Yousef Emadi began to serve their terms last June.

During the investigation, they reported torture by beating and electrocution to force them make a confession on TV. Mehdi Rajabian suffers muscular dystrophy due to the repeated torture. In autumn, the brothers went on hunger strike, protesting against inhuman treatment and denial of proper medical care.

Photo: mehdi_rajabian

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