According to the official IRNA news agency, Iran’s judiciary director, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, stated on Monday that 22,000 individuals who participated in anti-government rallies have been pardoned.
Early last month, state media announced that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had pardoned “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including those jailed during the protests as part of a violent crackdown on dissent.
“So far, 82,000 people have been pardoned, including 22,000 who participated in the protests,” Ejei said, but he did not specify over what period the pardons were granted or if the people had been charged.
Iran judiciary chief: 22,000 arrested in protests pardoned https://t.co/npfOOJKiDY pic.twitter.com/OaxQzByFNB
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Since the death of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in the custody of the country’s morality police last September, protests have swept across Iran, with people from all walks of life taking part. This represents one of the most audacious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
So far, no mass releases from prisons and detention centers have been reported, according to the AP. The agency emphasizes that the statement from the head of the justice department shows for the first time the scale of government persecution.
The wave of protests was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman detained by Iranian morality police for wearing a headscarf that, in the opinion of the officers, did not adequately cover her hair. After her detention, the young woman fell into a coma under unclear circumstances and died.
In February, government sources confirmed that tens of thousands of protesters had been arrested, while human rights organizations counted nearly 20,000 arrested and at least 530 killed.