Female singer summoned to court for performing solo in Iran

Singer Negar Moazzam performs in Abyaneh, Iran, on May 17. (Nagar Moazzam/Instagram)
Singer Negar Moazzam performs in Abyaneh, Iran, on May 17. (Nagar Moazzam/Instagram)

A singer who shared a video of herself performing alone in the streets of Abyaneh, a small village in central Iran, has been summoned to court.

Negar Moazzam posted a video of her rendition of an old Iranian pop song in front of a small group of tourists on her Instagram page on May 17. The video has since been deleted but can be seen below.

The video was shared widely on social media but triggered a backlash from local religious figures, as women in Iran are generally not allowed to sing alone in public.

Rohollah Amini, the Friday Prayer imam in Natanz, about 40 kilometres from Abyaneh, told Tasnim News that the police and judiciary system had a responsibility to “severely punish this kind of sacrilegious behaviour". Friday Prayer imams often act as authority figures and are typically very conservative.

The governor of Natanz province said in an interview on May 21 that two people had been summoned to appear in court in relation to the video. Local media reported that Moazzam was one of the individuals summoned.

Up to two months in prison and 74 lashes

Women in Iran are not legally banned from singing in public, but article 638 of the country’s penal code stipulates that an individual will be prosecuted for carrying out “forbidden (haram) acts in public". A woman singing alone in public could therefore be sentenced to up to two months and 74 lashes.

In February, the Iranian pop singer Hamid Askari was censored after his female guitarist, Negin Parsa, sang alone for 12 seconds during one of his concerts.

This article was written by Ershad Alijani