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Turkey Arrests Singer Tataloo, Hands Him to Iran

A portion of one of Amirhossein Maghsoudloo's YouTube channel pages.
A portion of one of Amirhossein Maghsoudloo's YouTube channel pages.

Amirhossein Maghsoudloo, professionally known as Tataloo, has been handed over to Iranian authorities by Turkish police at the Bazargan border crossing, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news agency reported Wednesday.

The IRIB report cited charges of “spreading corruption and obscenity” for his arrest. The allegations also included the alleged presence of underaged people at his residence in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities on Saturday arrested Tataloo following a complaint lodged by the Consulate of the Islamic Republic.

According to Iranian domestic news agencies, Tataloo visited the consulate on Friday and became involved in a confrontation with its staff, resulting in a formal complaint.

Experts speculate that he could be convicted in Iran of "corruption on Earth," a judgment that comes with the death penalty.

Tataloo has never performed a concert in Iran. He is known for his distinctive appearance, makeup, tattoos, unconventional attire and the provocative content in his songs, videos and social media posts.

Tataloo has been criticized in Iran for various reasons, including allegedly “promoting insult and violence against women” or allegedly “encouraging teenagers to engage in sexual relationships.”

Despite these critiques, he maintains a substantial fan base, known as Tatalities, who admire his notoriety and find no fault with his conduct, speech and lifestyle.

He made headlines for endorsing Ebrahim Raisi in the 2017 Iranian presidential election, although he has criticized Raisi, who was elected president in 2021, since moving to Turkey. And in 2015, he made a video defending Iran’s nuclear program.

A sociologist, opting for anonymity, who spoke to VOA, attributed Tataloo's prominence to the prevalent restrictions in Iran. They noted that despite the Islamic Republic's four-decade-long endeavor to establish an Islamic society, a generation of singers like Tataloo has emerged, challenging the government's religious and moral values yet garnering thousands of followers.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.

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