Hollow show of amnesty at the height of repression

In a hollow of show of amnesty yesterday, the mullahs' Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, agreed to recommendations by the head of the judiciary for "granting pardon or reduction in sentences" for "a number of prisoners." Unlike previous farce pardons, this time the regime did not even give a figure for the number of prisoners being covered by the "pardon."

Such ridiculous shows of mercy come at a time when the clerical regime's officials have acknowledged that the number of prisoners in Iran is 16 to 24 times higher than the worldwide average and that in this respect, Iran under the mullahs' rule "ranks among the leading countries."

Mullah Hadi Marvi, the Deputy Head of the Judiciary, said yesterday: "The number of prisoners in our prisons is several times higher than their capacity." (Qods daily, Feb. 12)

Those claimed to have been pardoned yesterday are entirely ordinary prisoners. The Judiciary chief himself has stated that the "pardon" does not cover "prisoners charged with acts detrimental to domestic or foreign security of the country." With this pretext, the regime has thus excluded all political prisoners. Even most of those eligible for pardon have not been released and only given a reduction in their sentences.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 13, 2000

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