Reuters reported about it, but can’t blame the news agency for working with scant information when it comes to Iran: on Saturday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed to commute the sentences of almost 900 people in honor of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, which was celebrated throughout the Muslim world this week.
According to Reuters, quoting figures published by Iran’s official news agency, some 80 political prisoners were released in September ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s General Assembly visit and another 1,241 were pardoned in October. No information was provided as to the nature of the crimes committed by the pardoned convicts, particularly on whether they were convicted of political offenses.
Meanwhile, the country’s most famous political prisoners, Green Line movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, remained under house arrest. Two poets known for their critical writers also continued to languish in the notorious Evin prison, as did student and women’s rights activist Bahareh Hedayat, who was said last week to be suffering from severe medical complications due to the conditions in which she was imprisoned.
And while we’re on the issue of women’s rights and gender equality, we’ll note that a speech by Iran’s most influential female politician, Masoumeh Ektebar, at the weekly Friday prayer in Tehran was canceled last week “without much explanation,” according to The Washington Post.
But that’s not all: according to an “alarming” Amnesty International report released last week, Iran has carried out 40 executions since the start of 2014, at least 33 of them in the same week. Of the 40 hangings, Iran acknowledged only 21.
Guess the news from Iran on human rights isn’t so good, after all…