Imprisoned Iranian music distributors Mehdi Rajabian and Hossein Rajabian sent out an impassioned plea from their jail cells to all the musicians and lovers of music in the world to keep their cause alive: “We call on all musicians around the world to condemn these abuses with a worthy response…Do not forget us in these suffocating times… There’s no greater suffering than to be forgotten”. The Rajabian brothers distributed music online to Iranian audiences. Unfortunately for them, they did so without a permit from the authorities and, to make matters worse, they distributed music by female singers and “anti-revolutionary” musicians from abroad. The IRGC arrested them in 2013 and in 2015, they were sentenced to 6 years in jail under the usual anti-regime charges: “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” – on appeal their sentence was reduced to 3 years.
At first, the brothers were placed in the same cell but after a while, they protested the fact that they were being denied medical attention. The reaction of the authorities was swift and harsh: the two brothers were separated. They went on a hunger strike which sent Hossein to the hospital since he suffers from multiple sclerosis, and were convinced to desist from the hunger strike following promises by the authorities to help them out. After two months, the Rajabian brothers understood that the promises would never reach fruition and they have decided to resume their hunger strike.
For all you lovers of music and all you musicians out there, please lend your voice or your instrument to help the Rajabians and make sure that they are never forgotten.