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[NEWS]COVID-19: Iran temporarily frees 85,000 prisoners nationwide

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In the wake of astronomical cases of Coronavirus in Iran, the government has decided to free 85,000 prisoners including political ones in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

Iran has confirmed 16,169 confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus with  988 deaths which put them closer to China’s cases.

“So far, some 85,000 prisoners have been released … Also in the jails, we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

He did not explain whether they will be returned to the prisons after the virus has subsided.

A day after Iran released 70,000 prisoners in early March, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, said he had asked Tehran to free all political prisoners temporarily from its overcrowded and disease-ridden jails to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

Rehman said only those serving sentences of less than five years had been freed, while prisoners charged with heavier sentences and those linked to their participation in anti-government protests remained in jail.

Iran has released at least a dozen political prisoners in the past days, according to activists and rights groups. But prominent political prisoners remain in jail.

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