Iran's Khamenei pardons thousands of prisoners, including protesters
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has agreed to mass amnesty for tens of thousands of prisoners, including those arrested in recent anti-government protests.
Khamenei approved a proposal by judiciary chief Mohseni Ejei for a general pardon and commutation of sentences for "a significant number” of convicts and suspects, state media reported on Sunday
According to Article 110 of Iran's Constitution, pardoning convicts or commuting their sentences can take place if the judiciary chief makes the proposal and the Supreme Leader approves it.
It is not clear exactly how many prisoners would be released as part of this amnesty, which comes after almost five months of protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman.
Mahsa Amini's death while in police custody in September last year led to massive protests across Iran, during which thousands of people were arrested on various charges.
According to Iranian authorities, at least 200 people were also killed during the deadly unrest, although Western human rights groups have put the death toll at more than 500, including civilians and security forces.
In a letter to Khamenei, Ejei states that a number of young protesters were "deceived by enemy propaganda,” and have expressed remorse over their "wrong actions".
The amnesty, however, comes with conditions and does not apply to those convicted of "spying for foreign agencies", "affiliation with groups hostile to the Islamic Republic", and "corruption on earth", according to the judiciary-affiliated Mizan News Agency.
The mass amnesty, thus, would not apply to those sitting on death row or dual nationals convicted of spying for foreign agencies.
The announcement comes as Iran marks the 44th anniversary of the 1979 revolution when the Pahlavi monarchy was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was established.