UN experts urge Iran to release jailed musicians, filmmaker

GENEVA (AP) " U.N. human rights experts are urging Iran to promptly release three men imprisoned on charges that include "insulting Islamic sanctities" and spreading anti-state propaganda by producing and distributing underground music.

The U.N. rights office said on Friday that musician Mehdi Rajabian, his brother Hossein Rajabian, a filmmaker, and musician Yousef Emadi started serving three-year prison terms this month.

The office says it sent a letter back in February to Iranian authorities, saying interrogators allegedly used "electroshock weapons" to force Mehdi Rajabian, founder of music distributor Barg Music, to confess.

U.N. rapporteur on cultural rights Karima Bennoune says the three were also allegedly forced to make self-incriminating televised "confessions" and apologize for broadcasting voices of female singers.

The experts say detaining people for "insulting the sacred" violates international human rights standards.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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