Jun 15, 2024 07:39 UTC
  • Killing Freedom of Speech for the Sake of Israel:  French Police arrest Iranian music maestro Bashir Biazar
    Killing Freedom of Speech for the Sake of Israel: French Police arrest Iranian music maestro Bashir Biazar

French police have arrested an Iranian music maestro as part of their ongoing crackdown on pro-Palestine activities.

Bashir Biazar, a renowned Iranian music professor and cultural figure, has been detained in France after being accused of charges commonly levied these days, "promoting hatred" and "inciting discord", for his support of the Palestinian cause and opposition to Israel's genocide in Gaza.

According to Pars Today, Biazar previously served as production manager at the Music and Song Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in Tehran.

He was arrested without explanation or warrant by French police in Paris on June 4 and was transferred to an immigration detention center over 100 kilometers away from his residence.

To date, no official statement has been released by the French government or police regarding the charges against Biazar, and they have not responded to repeated requests for clarification.

Many Iranian officials, including the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, have condemned the arrest as a violation of international humanitarian law.

Who is Bashir Biazar?

The pinned post on Biazar’s X handle, formerly Twitter, features a video of him addressing a United Nations session on anti-Iran sanctions, Israeli actions in Gaza, and the world body’s passivity.

“The Zionists have never been so alone, hated, defeated, and humiliated,” he wrote in the tweet.

His speech at the UN drew significant applause but angered pro-Israel lobby groups in France and other Western countries.

Biazar is not considered a political activist but rather an artist and cultural figure who is passionate about significant issues, including the situation in Gaza. Born and raised in Iran, Biazar is an independent music composer and filmmaker who has earned international fame for his work.

Throughout his 20-year career, he has been involved mainly in non-governmental institutions and organizations (NGOs).

He served as managing director of the New Horizon Institute of Arts and Culture and was the secretary of the London-based Islamic Student Association.

Biazar is well-respected in Iran’s artistic and cinematic circles and has maintained an active presence on social media platforms, where he is followed by thousands of his admirers.

His original Twitter account, which he used since 2009, was deleted after 13 years "with no explanation, no warning, and no reason," leading him to open a new one.

Three years ago, Biazar moved to France for his wife's doctoral studies at a French university.

She also teaches at the university, and their stay in the country is legal according to their friends, family, and Iranian officials.

The couple has two children, one in school and the other in kindergarten. For three years, they have regularly traveled back to Iran without difficulty.

While in France, Biazar was involved in production work and reported from the scene when anti-Iranian groups attacked the Iranian embassy in Paris.

Since the Israeli war on Gaza began in October last year, Biazar has been actively campaigning for an end to the conflict, in which he believes the French government is complicit.

French accusations against Biazar

The French interior ministry has accused Biazar of publishing alleged Iranian "propaganda" and "exploiting anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism," which they view as "political-religious interference."

Based on these accusations, the French authorities describe Biazar as "a vector of hatred that seriously threatens public order and fundamental interests of the state," recommending his expulsion from France.

Groundlessness of the accusations

The French foreign ministry's indictment against Biazar is based on false accusations and has been condemned by commentators, Iranian officials, and Biazar’s family and friends.

In an interview with Iran’s Mehr News Agency on Tuesday, Mohammad Mahdi Naraghian, former head of the Music and Song Center at IRIB, stated that the chargesheet against the Iranian national was hastily written, weak, and contradictory.

Biazar's posts on X are in Persian, and analytics show that no French citizens follow him or interact with his content. None of his posts are related to internal French matters or national security.

Since the start of the aggression on Gaza, Biazar has posted hundreds of tweets about Palestine, the suffering of Palestinians, criticism of the Israeli regime, and Western governments' passivity—similar to what many French and Western citizens do daily.

The French indictment illogically suggests that Biazar's tweets, not the actions of the Israeli regime, ignite tensions. Among his tweets, only nine mention Hamas, all in Persian, with minimal reach.

Biazar has not commented on Hezbollah in recent months except for a single comment on a speech by Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Instagram, a Meta-affiliated platform with strict rules about content related to Hamas and Hezbollah, has not deleted Biazar's profile, indicating he did not break any rule.

Experts argue that Biazar’s detention with illegal migrants, without informing his family of the reasons for his arrest, is a form of torture.

Reactions of Iranian authorities

Immediately after the news about Biazar's arrest was reported in media, Iranian authorities took swift action and followed up through relevant diplomatic channels.

Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, described Biazar’s arrest as "another disgrace for France in the field of human rights."


Key phrases: Iran and France, human rights violations in France, detention of immigrants in France, France and Israel, support for Palestine