Mohsen Namjoo, an Iranian protest singer who is often called the Iranian Bob Dylan, has been a controversial figure in his native country for years. “Some call him a genius, a sort of Bob Dylan of Iran, and say his satirical music accurately reflects the frustrations and disillusionment of young Iranians,” NY Times’ Nazila Fathi wrote in a profile piece a while back. “His critics say his music makes a mockery of Persian classical and traditional music as he constantly blends it with Western jazz, blues and rock.”
Now Namjoo has been sentenced to 5 years in prison “for insulting sanctities, ridiculing the Quran and dishonoring the holy book of the Muslims,” Etemad Melli reports (via Al Arabiya). The alleged offenses are contained in Namjoo’s song, leaked on the Internet; the songwriter claims the leak was against his will. An anonymous judge connected with the case is reported to have said Namjoo was found guilty because the track in question contained “unconventional singing of the Quran.”
See that, Lars Ulrich? Those Metallica leaks could have been so much worse.