COVID-19 Special Coverage
Iran temporarily releases 85,000 prisoners in wake of pandemic
mostafa_meraji / Pixabay
Iran temporarily releases 85,000 prisoners in wake of pandemic

Iran has temporarily released about 85,000 prisoners from jail as part of their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said about half of those released were political prisoners. Today’s mass release follows the release of some 70,000 prisoners on March 9, none of whom were political prisoners. In response to the earlier release, Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, had asked the government to release all political prisoners in order to relieve overcrowding and help contain the spread of Covid-19 among prison populations.

Rehman also expressed concerns about the negative impact of sanctions on the Iranian response to the Covid-19 outbreak, stating that international sanctions have “resulted in serious shortages of medication and medical equipment.” He called on the international community to “take all measures to mitigate the negative impact of sanctions on human rights, especially the right to health.”

Iran has been especially hard-hit by Covid-19, with 16,169 confirmed cases of the virus as of March 17.

For more on COVID-19, see our special coverage.