Dozens of Post-Election Political Prisoners Released; Is there a Chance for Hundreds More?
Last Saturday, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announced that on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will pardon 100 political prisoners. According to various sources, more than 30 inmates have been released over the past two days, among them a few students and political activists arrested in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.
Only hours after Dolatabadi’s announcement, the state-owned Fars News Agency wrote that some of the 100 pardoned prisoners were those whose detention was related to the 2009 presidential election. Kaleme, a website close to Mir Hossein Mousavi, wrote that several of these prisoners’ sentences would have been fully served within the next few weeks, and another group of them have also served half of their prison terms, qualifying them for conditional release according to Iranian law. “Among these 100 individuals, the sentences of 8 were suspended, and 12 other prisoners’ sentences were reduced,” said Dolatabadi. It is expected that the release of political prisoners will continue.
Despite the release of some political prisoners, a very large number remain inside various Iranian prisons, some of whom have not been on a single day of furlough during their detention. Some of these prisoners have become ill, and have not been able to receive permission for even a short medical furlough despite having received authorization from prison doctors to be hospitalized or to visit specialists. Among them are Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, Abdollah Momeni, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, Abolfazl Ghadyani, and others who remain under very difficult conditions at Evin Prison. Prisoners with special circumstances, such as lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is mother of two young children, has not been given a single day of furlough to be with her children during the 12 months she has been imprisoned.
According to a list of 28 released prisoners published by Kaleme website, several university students and political activists arrested after the 2009 presidential elections were released. Some of these individuals are: Ehsan Abdoh Tabrizi, Laleh Hassanpour, Zahra Jabbari, Kayvan Farzin, Amir Aslani, Sourena Hashemi, Mohsen Ghamin, Mohammad Pour Abdollah, Arsalan Abadi, Nazanin Hassan Nia, Soussan Tebyanian, Akram Heydarian, Sama Shamloo, Fatemeh Darvish, Ali Behzadian Nejad, Hamid Reza Nojoomi, Abolfazl Ghassemi, Kourosh Ghassemi, Artin Ghazanfari, Gholamreza Azadi, Meysam Roudaki, Amir Hossein Ghanbari, Omid Sharifi Dana, Behnam Ansari, Rouhollah Mirzakhani, Massoud Yazdchi, Mohsen Mokhtari, and Sajjad Moradi. Some of the other released inmates are Arash Alaei, Ali Malihi, Milad Asadi, Fatemeh Khorramjoo, Kiarash Kamrani, Hamid Samiei, Mousavi (an Isfahan University professor), Omid Esmailzadeh, and Mojtaba Hashemi.
Currently, there are more than 200 political prisoners inside Ward 350 of Evin Prison, more than 120 of whom were imprisoned in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election or as Green Movement supporters. Other prisoners inside Ward 350 are affiliated with the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, independent human rights organizations, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, etc. Some of them are also foreign subjects who are detained on political charges. These statistics do not include prisoners inside Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, or other prisons around Tehran and in other cities.