Iranians pressed a German mayor with ties to the Iranian city of Esfahan to use his leverage to secure the freedom of detained dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi.
The controversial mayor of the South-Western city of Freiburg, Martin Horn, has a twin city partnership with Esfahan (Isfahan), where Salehi is detained.
“The mayor of Freiburg, Martin Horn, can actually at least try to save an innocent life using the Isfahan-Freiburg city partnership. This partnership with a criminal regime shouldn’t have existed in the first place because Iran under the criminal Islamic Republic isn’t Iran anymore—it is an occupied country under a fanatic Islamic regime. But now Freiburg’s decision makers can show their seriousness about the importance of human rights and have Toomaj Salehi freed. Free Toomaj or end the partnership,” Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident in Germany, told Iran International on Saturday.
Iran International reported on Thursday that the Islamic Republic’s security forces violently assaulted Salehi during his arrest two weeks ago. Salehi, 33, was re-arrested on November 30 after being incarcerated for a year due to his support of the nationwide demonstrations against the regime last year.
Iranian security forces arrested around 22,000 people during the five-month-long protests after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of hijab police. But they particularly targeted artists, writers and journalists who sided with the anti-government protesters.
Vojoudi added that the international community gives Iran’s regime “legitimacy by ignoring the bad conditions of the Iranian political and religious prisoners like Toomaj Salehi but also rewards them with multiple partnerships. Democracies are demonstrating their weakness by turning a blind eye to the Islamic Republic’s crimes against humanity and ignoring western values.”
Aside from Iranian dissidents in Germany, as well as a small political party, JUPI, in Freiburg, opposed to the city partnership, there has been little German civil society resistance to Horn’s alleged pro-Iran regime policies.
Kazem Moussavi, who has campaigned for over twenty years against the dual city partnership, told Iran International, “It seems as if mayor Martin Horn and other Freiburg city officials have no empathy for the fact that Toomaj’s life is in great danger. In Isfahan, people are repeatedly hanged on the gallows. The responsible governors of the Isfahan Revolutionary Guards are also helping Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad to destroy Israel.”
Michael Blume, the German official in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Freiburg is located, assigned to fight antisemitism, including Khamenei’s antisemitism, has lashed out at Iranian dissidents as “corrupt exiled nationalists.”
The German paper Die Welt reported on Wednesday that a second court decision affirmed that Blume can be called antisemitic due to his verbal attacks on German Jews.
Moussavi added “When it comes to this tragedy in Freiburg’s twinning with Isfahan, Martin Horn and other people in charge of the city of Freiburg behave as if they were deaf, dumb and blind. A pity! Toomaj Salehi and all other political prisoners in Isfahan Prison must be released immediately.”