Tue, 29 Sep 2020

Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo, an underground musician unauthorized by the Islamic republic's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, has been arrested in Istanbul following a request by Iran, Tehran authorities said on January 28.

Police spokesman Ahmad Nourian was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying that Tataloo, whose real name is Amir Hossein Maghsoodloo, was arrested by the Turkish police after the Interpol issued a 'red alert' for him.

Nourian said Iran's judicial authorities had made the request for Tataloo's arrest 'for encouraging citizens, especially young people, to use drugs, especially psychotropic drugs, and for spreading corruption.'

There was no immediate comment from Turkish authorities. Interpol did not immediately respond to an RFE/RL request for confirmation.

Hadi Shirzad, head of the international department of Iran's police also told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that an 'Interpol red alert' was issued for Tataloo following a request by Iran.

In response to an RFE/RL request for confirmation, the Interpol neither confirmed nor denied the arrest.

'Any arrest in a member country is done by the national authorities in accordance with national legislation. In relation to your query, we would therefore advise you [to] contact the national authorities in the country where you believe such an arrest occurred,' Interpol said in an emailed statement.

Police officials made the comments after the administrator of Tataloo's social networks, Ronak, broke the news about his arrest on Instagram while warning that the singer could be 'handed over' to Iran.

Ronak, who appears to be a woman whose actual identity is not known, also posted a short video that purported to show the singer in handcuffs.

Tataloo, who has millions of followers on social media, campaigned for hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi during Iran's last presidential elections. Raisi later became the head of Iran's judiciary.

The heavily tattooed singer was arrested at least twice in Iran in the past, including in 2013 for alleged cooperation with satellite channels.

Tataloo had been reportedly living in Turkey for the past several months.

His social media manager said the singer was planning to move to Britain, where he was reportedly due to perform live in the coming days.

With reporting by ISNA and ILNA

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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