Iran will pardon or commute the sentences of a large number of prisoners as part of an annual amnesty, state media reported Sunday, though it is unclear how this will apply to people arrested during the recent wave of protests.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved a proposal to “pardon or commute” the sentences of thousands of detainees, state media reported, but with notable exceptions that are likely to exclude many detained protesters.
According to the semi-official Tasnim, the amnesty does not apply to those convicted or charged with “espionage for outsiders, direct ties to the foreign intelligence community, murder or intentional injury, as well as vandalism or arson at government, military and public sites – all the charges regularly brought against protesters and foreigners imprisoned in Iran.
Referring to protesters, Chief Justice Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said that “a number of convicts imprisoned after the recent riots in Iran had been tricked into wrongdoing under the influence of the enemy’s propaganda campaign” and “have asked for forgiveness,” Tasnim said. reported.
At least one Iranian human rights organization dismissed the move as “propaganda”.
“Khamenei’s #HypocriticalPardon of Protesters is an act of propaganda. They used their self-righteousness to protest and their arrests and convictions are not justified. Not only must all demonstrators be released, but on the path of justice, the trial of the perpetrators and agents of repression is also a universal right,” Iran Human Rights said on Twitter.
The semi-official Mehr news agency claimed that “tens of thousands” of prisoners could be pardoned or their sentences commuted, but did not provide details.
Khamenei made the announcement ahead of the 44th anniversary of the “victory of the Islamic Revolution” on Feb. 11. It is customary for Khamenei to grant amnesty to some prisoners to mark the occasion.
Anti-government protests sparked by the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman, have led to the arrest of tens of thousands of people across the country.
Last month, Iran executed two protesters accused of killing security personnel, sparking an international outcry. Critics said the executions were the result of hasty mock trials. At least 43 people are currently being executed in Iran, according to a DailyExpertNews count, but activist group 1500Tasvir says the number could rise to 100.