Turkey releases Iranian rapper detained by police last week: report

Popular Iranian rapper Tataloo has been released from detention in Turkey a week after being taken into custody by police amid concerns that he could be deported to Iran, Radio Free Europe reported.

Tataloo, whose real name is Amir Hossein Maghsoodloo, posted a video on Monday on his Instagram page, which has nearly 3 million followers, in which he is seen leaving what appears to be a detention center in Istanbul, where he had been held in recent days. The post has since been removed.

Iranian police officials said Tataloo was arrested on Jan. 28 after Interpol issued a red notice for him.

Police spokesman Ahmad Nourian was quoted by Iranian news agencies on Jan. 28 as saying that Iran’s judicial authorities had made the request for Tataloo’s arrest “for encouraging citizens, especially young people, to use drugs, especially psychotropic drugs, and for spreading corruption.”

But Turkish police told the BBC that Tataloo, who has recently been living in Turkey, was detained for “visa violations” while also confirming that a red notice had been issued for the rapper on drug-related issues.

Ahead of his detention the rapper, who has been detained in Iran several times — including in 2013 for alleged cooperation with satellite channels — was due to travel to Britain to give a concert.

Many of Tataloo’s fans had called for his release from detention in Turkey while expressing concern that he would be handed over to Iran, where he could face an unfair trial and torture.

An online petition calling for his release had garnered nearly 500,000 signatures. (turkishminute.com)

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