Iranian heavy metal band face execution after being charged with blasphemy for ‘writing satanic music and speaking to foreign radio stations’
Two members of the Iranian heavy metal band Confess have been arrested
They are accused of blasphemy due to the ‘satanic’ nature of their music
It was reported they were jailed fir months by the state’s Islamic police
Depending on the final charges, they face being executed or prison time
By Corey Charlton for MailOnline
Published: 11:22, 19 February 2016 |
Two members of an Iranian heavy metal band could be executed for blasphemy after they were arrested by the state’s religious guard and accused of writing ‘satanic’ music.
Nikan Siyanor Khosravi, 23, and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani, 21, the core members of the band Confess, are believed to have been arrested and jailed on November 10.
Held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison by the Revolutionary Guards until February 5, the pair wrote and released their own heavy metal albums and ran a record label.
Two of the three members of Iranian heavy metal band Confess (pictured on the left and right) may be executed after being arrested in the capital Tehran and accused of blasphemy
Nikan Siyanor Khosravi (pictured right) and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani (left) were arrested on November 10
The pair were jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for several months, it has been claimed
Their latest album, released in October, included tracks named ‘Teh-Hell-Ran’ and ‘I’m Your God Now’, both of which would likely rankle with the state’s hardline Islamic leadership.
A researcher for Human Rights Watch confirmed to MailOnline the pair had been arrested, saying they either faced up to six years in prison or the death penalty.
She said it was unclear if they were being charged with ‘insulting sacred beliefs’ charges, or the far harsher ‘insulting the prophet’, which is punishable by death.
Despite massive pressure from the international community and human rights groups, Iran carries out hundreds of public executions every year.
Social media accounts of those close to the band expressed concern about the pair’s plight, and included messages of support and the sharing of the #freeconfess hashtag.
Trev McKendry, the chief executive of heavy metal website Metal Nation Radio, cited a message he received from a friend of the pair.
This stated the two were accused of forming and running an illegal band in the ‘satanic’ heavy metal genre, writing anti-religion lyrics and being interviewed by forbidden foreign radio stations.
The source wrote: ‘The current situation of the guys is that they are working with their lawyers and waiting for their trial and announce [sic] of their judgment dates.’
Khosravi (left), 23, and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani (right), 21, are accused of playing in the ‘satanic’ heavy metal genre, it is claimed
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, officially called the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, is a branch of the state’s military that enforces its strict Islamic code.
The group is notorious for its repression of artists and musicians and is used to guard the country’s leadership from internal dissent.
The pair’s arrest also corresponds to one of the guard’s largest internal crackdowns in the past five years.
In November more than 170 people were arrested by the unit’s intelligence wing, including five journalists from Tehran, though it was not clear if the members of Confess were among them.
Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, described the arrests as ‘abductions, because the judiciary says they know nothing about at least 170 of them’.
‘People are transferred to unknown locations, without oversight by the Judiciary, and if the Judiciary disavows knowledge of it, that means the Guards are arresting people without judicial warrants.’