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Iranian Metal Band Confess Sentenced to 14 1/2 Years in Prison, 74 Lashes

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Last we checked in with Confess over a year ago, the Iranian metal band that was persecuted and jailed in their home country for lyrics that are anti-religious, atheistic, political, and anarchistic — otherwise simply known as “playing metal” — frontman Nikan Siyanor Khosravi had fled to Turkey after being released on bail while his bandmate Arash Ilkhani had stayed in Iran to appeal the court’s decision.

Today we have an update via Loudwire, and there’s both good and bad news to report.

First, the good: both band members were granted asylum in Norway, where they live today. They are safe and sound for the time being.

Now, the bad: the Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran has sentenced the band members to a combined prison sentence of 14 and a half years. That breaks down as follows: five years each for charges of insulting the sanctity of Islam, one year each on charges of propaganda against the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an additional two years for Khosravi on three counts of insulting the Supreme Leader and the president, plus an additional six months for “disturbing public opinion through the production of music containing anti-regime lyrics and insulting content and for participating in interviews with the opposition media.” That last count also comes with 74 lashes for Mr. Khosravi. Court documents from Tehran detailing the charges can be viewed below (in Farsi).

We’re not clear on what the court’s sentence means in practical terms for the two musicians, but I’m guessing Iran does not have an extradition treaty with Norway. So while Khosravi and Ilkhani are safe for now and the immediate future, it’s likely they won’t be able to travel home to see their families (and vice versa) for a very, very long time, if ever. And that is a great sadness… but, once again, they’re not in danger of being locked up, and they’re free to continue to write and perform.

Confess are keeping their heads up by pressing on with their career: the band just released a new song called “Evin,” named after the prison in which they were held after their 2015 arrest, with an album called Revenge at All Costs on the way (release date TBA). You can stream the new song below while you meditate on how lucky we have it here in the U.S. and other places where people won’t be imprisoned simply for playing metal (shut the fuck up with your free speech complaints; no one is arresting you!).

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