Iran frees 157, thousands remain jailed on protest anniversary

Iran frees 157, thousands remain jailed on protest anniversary
        Iran frees 157, thousands remain jailed on protest anniversary



One year after Iran was rattled with deadly unrest over a contentious government fuel subsidy plan, the country’s judiciary said 157 protest have been released.


According to judiciary spokesperson Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, the pardon was granted by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the “security convicts,” a term Iranian officials apply to most political dissidents and prisoners of conscience.


Every year on different religious occasions, Khamenei issues similar pardons for thousands languishing in Iranian jails. Yet the order has always left out political prisoners.


A newspaper run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) praised the pardon as a sign of “Islamic compassion” on the anniversary of the “riots.”


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The IRGC was at the helm of the violent crackdown on last year’s protests, in which at least 220 Iranians were killed in the streets of over 100 cities nationwide. The bodies of many of those killed were buried under tight security, with families barred from holding public mourning ceremonies. In some cases, according to families and local activists, corpses were recovered from rivers and lakes. The November rallies were triggered by gasoline price hikes introduced by President Hassan Rouhani’s government and approved by the supreme leader. However, with the protests gathering steam, the slogans turned radical, including calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, as many protesters raised demands that had piled up unaddressed over decades. The 157 pardoned protesters leave behind thousands more who are still held in inhumane conditions and suffer various forms of torture, ranging from lashing and electric shocks to sexual abuse, according to an Amnesty International report. Never miss another story the unspecified number of those protesters are on death row.
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