The international metal community is rallying behind members of the Iranian groove/nu/thrash metal outfit Confess, who have reportedly been arrested in their native Iran — and potentially face execution — for a range of “offences” including playing heavy metal, owning an independent record label and corresponding with Western media.
Metal Nation Radio was the first to break the story of musicians Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Arash ‘Chemical’ Ilkhani after a message from an anonymous “close friend” of the musicians who also claimed to be the administrator of the band’s official Facebook page: The message asked MNR to publicise the case saying “He really needs you now by [sharing] it, post[ing] it and [talking about] it in the network and your radio shows and your co-workers and friends” and “We … need your help.”
It appears that that the men were arrested by the intelligence unit of Sepah-e Pasdaran, (Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) on 10 November last year — a matter of weeks after the band released their most recent album, In Pursuit Of Dreams — and were held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, in north-west Tehran, until 5 February this year, when they were released after stumping up 1.000.000.000 Rial (approx $US30,000). They are now apparently awaiting trial for the litany of charges brought against them which include (from the message): “in accusation of [blasphemy]; advertising against the system; form[ing] and running an [illegal] and underground band and record label in the satanic ‘Metal & Rock’ music style!; writing anti-religion and athiestic, political & anarchistic lyrics and [conducting] interview[s] with [forbidden] [foreign] radio stations”.
The message goes on to explain that “all the personal and band e-mails and Facebooks are under the control of the government”, and that the men “face the minimum 6 month[s] to the maximum 6 years of [imprisonment] for the majority of the charges, as “the Metal & Hard Rock music (in a oneword, the [extreme] music) in Iran is [forbidden] and [against] the law and because it [is] consider[ed] as a Satanic genre of music it has a [harsh] punishment” including imprisonment and being whipped for their so-called crime.
The ultimate sanction for a finding of guilt for blasphemy is the death penalty.