Iran decrees mass pardon in honor of revolution anniversary

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pardoned a “large number” of prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, state TV reported Thursday.

The report did not say how many prisoners were released, but previous reports suggested it would apply to some 50,000 people, the largest number ever covered in a single pardon. Some prisoners would be released while others would have their sentences reduced.

According to judiciary website, the pardon covers a wide range of people, from those serving a year in jail to life in prison.

It said convicts in jail on armed opposition charges, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, fraud, embezzlement, bribery, forging bank notes and coins, money laundering, smuggling and organized crimes will not be pardoned.

However, men above age 70 and women above age 60 as well as prisoners suffering from certain diseases could be pardoned, according to the website.

If so, the pardon could include 81-year-old Iranian-American businessman Baquer Namazi, who has been held for more than two years and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Namazi and his son Siamak Namazi, who has been held for over three years, are each serving a 10-year sentence on a charge of collaborating with a hostile power.

Iran has some 240,000 prisoners. It is holding several other people of dual-citizenship with Western nationalities on allegations of threatening national security. It’s unclear whether any, including Baquer Namazi, would be included in the pardon.

Iran is celebrating the 1979 revolution, which toppled a Western-backed monarchy and ushered in four decades of clerical rule. Khamenei, who issued the decree, has the final say on all major policies.

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