A popular Iranian rapper has been sentenced to death for protesting his government.

Toomaj Salehi Given Death Sentence

On Wednesday (April 24), ABC News reported the Islamic Republic Revolution Court of Isfahan sentenced rapper Toomaj Salehi to die after he was charged with corruption. The outspoken MC has been arrested on multiple occasions for calling out the Iranian government for corruption and suppression of dissent in his rap songs.

"The primary court sentenced Toomaj Salehi to the harshest punishment, death, on the charge of 'corruption on Earth,'" Salehi's lawyer, Amir Raesian, said in an interview.

The death sentence contradicts an Iranian Supreme Court ruling that said Salehi's case qualified for amnesty, according to Raesian.

Read More: Rolling Loud and Black Music Action Coalition Create PSA to End Rap Lyrics Being Used as Evidence

Kevin Liles Reacts to Rapper's Death Sentence

On Friday (April 26), Kevin Liles, cofounder and CEO of 300 Entertainment, reacted to news of Toomaj's sentence on social media.

"Hip-hop isn’t just under attack in America," Liles captioned screenshots of a news report revealing Toomaj's fate. "The criminalization of our music and culture is global, and we need to stand up together. #FreeOurArt #FreeJeffery."

Liles has been a staunch supporter of freedom of speech in music. In 2022, he launched a petition against using lyrics as evidence in court cases.

Read More: These Are the 17 Lyrics That Will Be Used Against Young Thug and Codefendants in the YSL Trial

Hip-Hop Is Revolutionary

Hip-hop's history as a revolutionary genre is well documented. Songs like Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," N.W.A's "F**k the Police," "Killer Mike's "Reagan" and a plethora of other establishment-bucking tracks have pushed the envelope. Toomaj's sentencing is the antithesis of what hip-hop artists in America have pushed for since the beginning. That's not to say U.S. MCs have cart blanche when it comes to lyrics.

Over the years, several rap artists have had lyrics used against them in trials. In one of the biggest recent instances, the prosecution in the Young Thug YSL RICO case is using several lyrics to try and convict the rapper and his codefendants. However, in the U.S. cases, lyrics are being used to try and substantiate crimes. In Toomaj's case, the Iranian government is saying his lyrics were the crime.

Check out the ABC News report on Toomaj Salehi receiving a death sentence and Kevin Liles' response below.

Watch ABC News' Coverage of Toomaj Salehi's Sentencing

See Kevin Liles' Response to Toomah Salehi Being Sentenced to Death

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