Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo has been released from detention in Turkey a week after being arrested by police amid concerns that he could be deported to Iran, Radio Free Europe reported.
Videos posted on the Instagram page of the rapper showed him walking out of a Turkish prison gate and reuniting with friends.
Tataloo, an outspoken critic of the regime in Tehran, was detained on Jan. 28 in Istanbul following a request by Iran, Tehran authorities said. The popular rapper was preparing to leave Istanbul for concerts in London.
Police spokesman Ahmad Nourian was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying that Tataloo, whose real name is Amir Hossein Maghsoodloo, was detained by the Turkish police after the Interpol issued a “red alert” for him.
Nourian reportedly said 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 was detained for “visa violations,” while also confirming that a red alert had been issued for the rapper on drug-related issues.
The heavily tattooed singer was arrested at least twice in Iran in the past.
He had been reportedly living in Turkey for the past couple of months.
In his Instagram story on Jan. 28 Tataloo, posted photos and videos which showed him handcuffed inside a Turkish police car. The rapper’s fans urged the Turkish authorities to release him.
“We urge the Turkish government to free him and return his passport and document back to him as soon as possible. If Turkish government has any evidence against him, he has the right for a fair trial outside Iran for the accusations against him and not within Iran,” said a petition launched on Change.org. The petition has garnered nearly 500,000 signatures.
Tataloo has more than 3.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.25 million on Facebook.