Iran Releases 85,000 Prisoners for Coronavirus

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Iran Releases 85,000 Prisoners for Coronavirus

IRAN has so far provisionally released about 85,000 prisoners, including some political prisoners, as part of measures being taken to curb the spread of coronavirus infection, an Iranian justice spokesman said.

In Iran, 988 people have died from coronaviruses so far, and the infection has been confirmed in 16,169 people across the country.

Iran ranks third in the world in terms of deaths from coronaviruses, after China and Italy.

“About 85,000 prisoners have been released so far … We have also taken precautionary measures in prisons to combat the disease,” said Justice spokesman Gholamhosein Esmaili.

He did not say when the released prisoners would have to return to prison.

The day after Iran released 70,000 prisoners from prison in early March, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Jawahid Rehman, said he had asked Tehran to temporarily release all political prisoners from overcrowded prisons full of various ailments to suppressed the spread of coronaviruses.

Only those serving sentences of less than five years are released

Rehman said only those serving prison terms of less than five years were released, while inmates remained convicted of serious crimes and those who participated in anti-government protests.

Iran has released at least a dozen political prisoners in recent days, according to human rights organizations. But prominent political prisoners are still in prison.

The US has demanded the release of dozens of dual citizens and foreign nationals imprisoned on charges of espionage in Iran, saying it would hold the Iranian government directly responsible if a US citizen dies in prison.

Iran's religious leaders are reluctant to quarantine cities despite the increasing number of dead and coronavirus-infected people, but urge citizens to avoid travel ahead of the March 20 Iranian New Year celebrations.

Iranians ignored calls from authorities to stay home

Many Iranians have ignored calls from health authorities to stay home and the country's shops and restaurants remain open.

Authorities have nevertheless shut down Shiite shrines in Mashhad and Komo, the epicenter of contagion in the country.

The closure of the shrine did not go without protest, which police dispersed Monday night, arresting two protesters.

China has urged Washington to relax sanctions on Iran for coronaviruses, but as Reuters has learned from cited sources, this is unlikely.

Iran asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week for five billion euros in emergency financial aid to combat the pandemic.

The United Arab Emirates, otherwise rival to Iran, has decided to forget the disagreements and help it by sending two planes with 32 tons of medical equipment, including gloves and surgical masks.

Other countries in the Middle East have put in place stringent pandemic measures by closing borders and suspending flights.

Iran Releases 85,000 Prisoners for Coronavirus

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