Responding to an announcement by the Iranian authorities that pardons will be granted to prisoners convicted of
"security" offences who have a five-year prison sentence or less, and that those who have been granted leave in recent
weeks will not be returned to prison, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and
Advocacy Director, said:
"Amnesty International welcomes the release of anyone detained as a prisoner of conscience, although they should not
have been in prison in the first place.
"No one should spend a single day in prison for peacefully exercising their rights, and it is outrageous that so many
prisoners of conscience remain unjustly jailed - including human rights defenders and many others detained for taking
part in peaceful protests in November 2019 and January this year."
Amnesty International is again calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all
prisoners of conscience."
Iranian authorities have announced that prisoners jailed for "security" offences who have a five-year prison sentence or
less will be granted pardons, and that those who have been granted leave in recent weeks will not have to return to
prison. Many prisoners defined by the authorities as jailed for "security" offences are actually prisoners held for
politically motivated reasons.The announcement said the pardons were, in part, to mark the occasion of Nowrouz (the
Iranian New Year), which falls on 20 March, and two Islamic religious holidays.
The pardons were also made in light of the "sensitive situation" of the country, in apparent reference to the spread of
the coronavirus. In recent weeks, Iran has been granting prison leave after payment of bail, as authorities struggle to
contain the spread of coronavirus, including in the country’s prisons.