Iranian singer and government critic arrested in Turkey
Iranian singer Amir Tataloo, who has a large following on social media and is an outspoken critic of the regime in Tehran, has been arrested in Turkey.
Tataloo, whose real name is Amirhossein Maghsoodloo, was living in Turkey and Ankara said the arrest in Istanbul was at Tehran’s request under an Interpol “red notice”. Turkey said he was detained for a visa violation.
The heavily tattooed singer has denounced the Iranian religious authorities for not licensing his music, which is deemed “western, non-Iranian and immoral”.
His social media manager said Tataloo was planning to move to the UK, where he was due to perform live soon.
Iran’s police accused Tataloo of “encouraging citizens, especially the youth, to use drugs”, according to Iran’s ISNA.
His music has been described as a blend of pop, rap, jazz and R&B. He performed live for BBC Persian in 2018.
He has been arrested in Iran several times.
In 2013, Tatalou was arrested by the Iranian morality police and in 2016 he was jailed on apparent charges of spreading depravity among young Iranians.
Tataloo lyrics, which detail Iranian rights abuses and restrictions on media freedom.
The singer encouraged his fans to vote for conservative and hardline candidates in the 2017 presidential election, sparking controversy.
Iran’s media reported that Turkey was working on Tataloo’s extradition to Iran. An online petition of fans opposed the move amid fears for the crooner’s safety.
Tara Sepehri Far, Human Rights Watch’s Iranian specialist, said Tataloo had been harassed and previous persecutions for his artistic activities were “very concerning”.
Tataloo could face torture in Iran, she said, adding that it showed Iran was saying it was “capable of bringing people back to Iran. They’re using it as a propaganda tool and as leverage to show that Iran can project power beyond its borders.”
The pop singer has more than 3.2 million Instagram and 1.25 million Facebook followers.
An Interpol red notice is a request to all law enforcement agencies to detain a suspect.
Interpol’s role is to assist police in identifying and locating the suspect ahead of an arrest and possible extradition. Interpol cannot compel national governments in any country to arrest or deport a suspect.
Amir Tataloo in the video To Too Dide Man Nisti. Picture credit: Vimeo