February 4, 2020
A popular and controversial Iranian rapper wanted by Iranian authorities who was arrested in Turkey on January 28 was freed by Turkish authorities on February 4.
Videos posted on the Instagram page of Amir-Hossein Maghsouldloo, who is better known by his stage name Amir Tataloo, show him walking out of a Turkish prison gate and reuniting with friends.
In Instagram posts immediately after his detention Tataloo had said he was arrested in Turkey because the Iranian government wanted him. Following the tattoo-covered underground rapper’s arrest Iranian authorities claimed there was an Interpol “Red Alert” on the rapper and insisted that he would be extradited to Iran.
Turkish police detained the 32-year-old rapper on January 28 while he was preparing to leave Istanbul for concerts in London. Turkish police said they had detained him for a visa violation and had no plans to deport him to Iran.
After his release Tataloo posted messages thanking the Turkish authorities, his supporters, the media, the exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi who in a message had called for his freedom. He also sarcastically thanked the Islamic Republic and Khamenei “for doing what spurred so much solidarity and love” in his favor.
In his Instagram posts before his arrest in Turkey on January 28 Tataloo had implied that he was going to speak out about being “tortured” and “solitary confinement” and being used by the Iranian intelligence when he lived as an underground rapper in Iran.
Tataloo had been briefly jailed in 2013 for distribution of his banned music to foreign-based satellite channels and for two months in 2016 for insulting a judge during a court hearing.
In July 2015 while nuclear talks were underway between Iran and the world powers Tataloo, until then an underground rapper who could never perform in public, released a controversial song in support of Iran’s nuclear program.
The music video was made on the deck of Damavand, an Iranian Army destroyer, in the Persian Gulf and was interpreted as the Army’s support for the nuclear deal.
In a message on his Telegram channel in May 2017 Tataloo disclosed that his political posts originated from someone with the Iranian intelligence. Tataloo said he has no knowledge of politics and “a friend who works for the Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Organization” forwards him political texts which he then shares on his channel.