Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei on the event of ten-day long festivities marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution passed the order of pardoning and reducing the sentence of a large number of prisoners. The order was made public on Thursday, through Iranian media reports and official tweet from Ayatollah Khamenei. Though the authorities haven’t revealed the official number of convicts who would be pardoned, Iranian media in its earlier reports has suggested the number to be around 50,000.
Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, Iran’s Chief Judiciary wrote a letter Ayatollah Khamenei seeking his permission for “the Islamic clemency”, to reduce or pardon the sentences of convicts. According to the Khamenei.ir (official website), the Supreme leader gave his permission saying, “The reminiscences of the Islamic Revolution is certainly the appropriate occasion to share the happiness of the Iranian nation with the families of those affected by judicial convictions.”
The decree is applicable over numerous convicts of Iran’s Public and Revolutionary Courts, the Judicial Organization of Armed Forces, and the State Discretionary Punishment Organization, whose convictions were confirmed by February 11, 2019.
According to judiciary website Mizanonline.com, the clemency could be granted to anyone irrespective of the duration of their sentence (ranging from one year to life imprisonment). The website also mentioned that men and women over 70 and 60 years of age respectively, and prisoners suffering from certain diseases could be freed. It also specified that the order would not be applied to the convicts charged with armed opposition, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, fraud, embezzlement, bribery, forging bank notes and coins, money laundering, smuggling and organized crimes.
The authorities haven’t given any official statement about who would be pardoned. It is said that Iran has some 2,40,000 prisoners, some of whom are the people of dual-citizenship with Western nationalities and have been convicted on allegations of threatening national security.
The celebrations, known as the “Ten Days of Dawn,” would end on Feb. 11, the date when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s government broke down in 1979, making Ayatollah Khomeini the supreme leader of the nation.