Iranian metal band CONFESS have been sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran.
Reason? For the crime of playing metal, frontman Nikan Khosravi has also been sentenced to 74 lashes.
The Iranian metal duo, Nikan “Siyanor” Khosravi and Arash “Chemical” Ilkhani, were arrested in November of 2015 by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. They were charged with blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal and underground band and record label promoting music considered to be Satanic, writing anti-religious lyrics and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations.
In 2015, CONFESS made headlines after being arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Musicians Khosravi and Ilkhani were thrown into solitary confinement and initially faced the death penalty for blasphemy and advertising against the system. According to Khosravi, CONFESS dodged execution due to a loophole in Iran’s practice of Sharia Law.
“If you insult the Prophet you will get executed because he’s dead and he can’t defend himself. But if you blaspheme God and question his existence, he can forgive you. That was why we didn’t get executed,” Khosravi explains.
The band eventually granted asylum in Norway after initially sneaking out of the country to Turkey.
Loudwire was able to obtain a legal document from the General Judiciary of the Province of Tehran outlining CONFESS’ sentence, which was handed down on July 3:
“Regarding the appeal of Mr. Arash Ilkhani and Mr. Nikan Khosravi, each of them have been convicted to 5 years in prison on charges of insulting the sanctity of Islam and one year in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the set of contents, news, and received documents displaying the continuation of the activities, the court of appeals has found the allegations well-founded and precise.
“In the received documents, the court has convicted Mr. Nikan Khosravi to two years of imprisonment for three counts of insulting the Supreme Leader and the president.
“He has been sentenced to 6 months of imprisonment and 74 lashes for allegedly disturbing public opinion through the production of music containing anti-regime lyrics and insulting content and for participating in interviews with the opposition media.
“The accusation of attempting to leave the country has also been confirmed by the court. In this regard, Mr. Khosravi has been convicted to 4 years of imprisonment. Regarding Mr. Arash Ilkhani, the appeals court, by reviewing the contents of the case and considering his role in the production of content in the music group named “Confess” and his inactivity in the group during the trial, suspended 4 years from his 6 years of imprisonment and confirmed 2 years of his conviction.
The court declares this statement to reject the request of an appeal. This is the definitive vote.
Khosravi was given 12 and a half years in prison and 74 lashes. Ilkhani had his initial sentence of six years reduced to two years.
In response to the sentencing, CONFESS have released the new song “Evin,” named after the prison where the musicians were held after their 2015 arrest.