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Top rights official urges France to swiftly free jailed Iranian musician

Iranian musician and filmmaker Bashir Biazar

Iran's top human rights official says Paris must swiftly release Iranian musician and filmmaker Bashir Biazar, illegally arrested and imprisoned in France for speaking out against Israel's war on Gaza. 

"We are in constant contact with the French authorities for the release of Bashir Biazar and we emphasized that he should be freed as soon as possible," Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, said on Sunday.

Gharibabadi, who also serves as deputy Judiciary chief for international affairs, added that Biazar has been "illegally" detained in France.

He emphasized that a French court has told Biazar that he must to leave the country within 28 days but he has been imprisoned over the past 20 days. "It is really unfathomable why they should keep him in custody until the last day."

He noted that the expulsion of the Iranian music maestro and cultural figure is illegal based on human rights principles because his family is studying in France and "this is an anti-human rights issue."

The top Iranian rights official said the country's Foreign Ministry is pursuing the case.

Biazar, a former production manager at the Music and Song Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), was summoned and detained by French police earlier in June. He has been vocal in his support for the Palestinian cause and in highlighting Israeli crimes in Gaza through social media.

His social media content has consistently focused on cultural issues related to the Muslim world and the Palestinian cause, which the French authorities now seem to be using as a pretext for his arrest and potential deportation.

The French interior ministry accuses Biazar of disseminating alleged Iranian "state propaganda" and promoting “anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism,” which they view as "political-religious interference."

A French court reportedly ordered Biazar to leave the country within 28 days, but French police have not released him, not explaining the continued detention.

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