Iran pardons detainees: In a major development, Iran, which has detained more than 20,000 protestors in the past six months, has freed more than half of the prisoners, a state news agency reported on Sunday. According to media reports, the latest development came following Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's intervention which advocated for the release of over ten thousand prisoners.
Notably, this was the first time when Iran acknowledged that it captured such numbers of its citizen following a large-scale crackdown last year. As per the state news agency IRNA, the supreme leader has imposed certain restrictions on the protestors and added that the latest measure would not be applicable to those who have dual citizenship and were arrested in Tehran.
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Besides, it noted that those who were arrested on the charges of espionage would not be pardoned. Activists immediately dismissed Khamenei’s decree. “Khamenei’s hypocritical pardon doesn’t change anything,” wrote Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights. “Not only all protesters must be released unconditionally, but also it is a public right that those who ordered the bloody repression and their agents are held accountable.”
Why Iran is witnessing one of its biggest and most violent protests?
It is worth mentioning Iran has been boiling ever since 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, also known as Jina Amini, was killed in police custody. Initially, she was detained by Morality Police for not wearing the black scarf (Hijab) properly in a public place. A day after her arrest, she was admitted to a hospital, where Iranian Police claimed the woman suffered a cardiac arrest. However, later, multiple local media reported that the post-mortem description claimed she died of multiple fractures. This created a major uproar against the incumbent government where the protestors started demanding the death of their own President Ebrahim Raisi.
Earlier last year, Iran executed a prisoner convicted allegedly for stabbing two security force members. The execution, which was broadcasted on local television, showed the accused Majidreza Rahnavard, hanged for allegedly killing two security forces during the nationwide protest on November 17 in the city of Mashhad.
Although Iranian authorities claimed Rahnavard was the second detainee who was executed publically in the past month, the human rights activists claimed more than a dozen were killed ever since the protest erupted. The activists claimed protestors were sentenced to death in closed-door hearings. As of now, the human rights watchdog group claimed nearly 500 people have been killed in the past three months and another 18,200 people have been detained by authorities.
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