According to state media, Iran will pardon or commute the sentences of a huge number of convicts as part of a yearly amnesty. It is unclear, however, how this will affect those detained during the most recent wave of protests.
According to official media, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved a proposal to “pardon or commute” the sentences of thousands of inmates, but with important exceptions that are likely to leave out many protestors who are now in jail.
The amnesty does not apply, according to semi-official Tasnim, to those who have been convicted or are currently being prosecuted for crimes like “espionage for outsiders, direct links with the foreign intelligence services, murder or intentional injury, as well as vandalism or arson attack on governmental, military, and public sites” — all of which are frequently brought against Iranian protesters and foreign nationals who are detained abroad.
Chief Justice Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei referred to protestors when he remarked that “a number of convicts convicted following the recent riots in Iran had been fooled into wrongdoing under the influence of the enemy’s propaganda campaign” and have “called for forgiveness,” according to Tasnim.
At least one human rights group in Iran criticized the action as “propaganda.”
Iranian director and filmmaker Jafar Panahi enjoying tea on the balcony of his flat in Tehran on May 31, 2006.
Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi engages in a hunger strike while incarcerated
“Khamenei’s hypocritical pardoning of demonstrators is a propaganda stunt. Their arrests and imprisonment are unjustified since they used their right to self-defense by protesting. The prosecutions of the perpetrators and agents of repression are also a universal right in the interests of justice, in addition to the liberation of all protestors, Iran Human Rights stated on Twitter.
The Center for Human Rights (CHRI) in Iran, a New York-based NGO, called Khamenei’s action a “PR gimmick” with “no basis in reality.”
In a statement released to CNN on Sunday, the deputy director of the CHRI, Jasmin Ramsey, said that the Iranian government had a “recorded history of making high claims about releasing political detainees and then following through.”
What Ramsey predicted was that while some inmates would be freed, many others—particularly well-known political prisoners who had been wrongfully imprisoned for years—would not.
“This is a PR gimmick by a leadership that has lost support among its people and has no basis in reality. The criminalization of dissent, the political repression, and the imprisonments following bogus “trials” presided over by kangaroo courts all persist, she added.
Unofficial news organization Mehr made the claim that “tens of thousands” of prisoners could receive pardons or have their sentences reduced, although he gave no supporting information.
Prior to February 11th, which will mark the 44th anniversary of the “winning of the Islamic Revolution,” Khamenei made the declaration. To mark the event, Khamenei is accustomed to pardoning some convicts.
Following anti-government demonstrations in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish-Iranian lady, in September 2022, tens of thousands of people have been detained across the nation.
An international uproar resulted from Iran’s execution of two demonstrators accused of killing security agents last month. Critics claimed that rushed sham trials led to the executions. According to a CNN report, at least 43 people are currently facing death in Iran, while the activist group 1500Tasvir claims the number might reach 100.