Leader’s Pardon of 81 Political Prisoners Show Arbitrary Nature of Prosecutions

(3 June 2010) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomed today’s pardon of 81 political prisoners by Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Khamanei as a positive sign, but said the gesture amounted to an explicit admission that the prisoners had been wrongfully prosecuted, and called for the immediate release of approximately 450 other prisoners convicted or sentenced on the basis of their political beliefs.

Khamenei’s mass pardon is announced even as new arrests of political activists and journalists in Iran continue. The identities of “pardoned” prisoners have not been announced.

“If the Leader can pardon these 81 individuals, in effect confirming they have committed no crimes, he can and should release all those remaining in Iranian prisons who have likewise been wrongfully prosecuted,” said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.

“Otherwise it must be concluded that the pardons are a political ploy aimed at blunting domestic and international criticism of extreme political repression that continues in Iran,” he said.


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