An Update on Persecuted Iranian Metal Band Confess
The story of the Iranian metal band Confess starts in November of 2015, when they were arrested for charges of blasphemy, advertising against the system, forming and running an illegal and underground band and recording label in a musical considered to be Satanic, writing lyrics that are anti-religious, atheistic, political, and anarchistic, and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations.
In other words: they were arrested for being in a metal band. If that seems extreme, it’s because it is: keep that in mind next time you complain about decreasing liberties in the age of Trump (which, to be clear, we should still be very concerned about).
Following their arrest, the band members were kept in solitary confinement for more than three months before being released on bail of 1,000,000,000 Iranian Rial — more than $33,000 U.S. The last update we received came in June of last year, when frontman Nikan Siyanor Khosravi revealed that the sentence given to the band by the courts was “not good at all,” and that they had retained new lawyers to appeal the decision.
Decibel Magazine recently caught up with Khosravi for an update, and thankfully things are looking up although the ordeal is from over. Khosravi is hiding in Istanbul, Turkey, where he escaped illegally after being harassed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and is seeking UN refugee status:
“I decided to leave the country, but because I was ‘banned from travel outside of Iran’ and my passport has been taken from me by the government, there was no other way to emigrate but illegally and actually cross the border to get out of there, get to Turkey and introduce myself to The UN Refugee Agency in Ankara to get out of the fucking hell which they have designed for me.”
Khosravi added that his bandmate Arash Ilkhani is “totally safe” and has stayed in Iran, appealing the court’s decision there. But having been denied the right to use lawyers by the Iranian court, Khosravi is seeking help: “If anyone can help with legal matters in emigration, please step in and let us know.” The UN has set a date of January of 2021 for his emigration interview, and he encourages those in metal community to contact Amnesty International to help speed up the case. He is working on new music with 17 songs completely done, adding “all this pain was for that next step.”
Head over to Decibel to read the full piece, including some information from Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) deputy communications director Jasmin Ramsey, who explains more about the laws in Iran which Confess are accused of breaking and the nature of the underground art scene in the country.
It may a scary time to live in America right now, but at least we’re able to play the music we love without fear of persecution by the government.