Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour. KL./

By Humeyra Pamuk and Kanishka Singh

 – The United States on Monday condemned the sentencing of an Iranian singer who won a Grammy award in 2023 for a song that became an anthem for mass Iranian protests after the death of Mahsa Amin while in the custody of the morality police.


Iranian singer and songwriter Shervin Hajipour said on his Instagram account last week that he had been sentenced to more than three years in prison. He was convicted for incitement and provocation of people to disturb national security through his music, local rights advocates noted.

Hajipour, 26, wrote and published the song “Baraye” following the death in police custody of Amini, a young woman from Iranian Kurdistan.

U.S. first lady Jill Biden described the song as a “powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights” when she presented him last year with the first-ever song for social change Grammy award for “Baraye.” A song “can ultimately change the world,” she said at the time.

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“We condemn the years long prison sentence for Shervin Hajipour,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in a press briefing on Monday.

“The Iranian government’s actions are just another signal of their intent to crackdown on freedom of expression and repress voices inside their own society whenever possible.”


Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran in 2022 for “unsuitable attire” by the morality police. Her death in police custody sparked huge protests in Iran and by Iranians in other parts of the world. The unrest spiraled into the biggest show of opposition to Iran‘s authorities in years.

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(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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