Iran: supreme leader pardons 81 post-election protesters

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on June 2 pardoned or commuted the sentences of 81 protesters arrested following last year’s disputed presidential election. The pardons were made on request of the head of the Supreme Judicial System of Iran, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, who described the pardoned protesters as repentant. They were announced the same day that defeated presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi applied for permission to hold demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the elections. Pardons are common occurrences on national religious observances in Iran; June 2 marked the birth of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, a revered figure in Shi’a Islam.

The Iranian government arrested hundreds in a crackdown on protests over the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, drawing criticism from international human rights organizations. A Tehran Revolutionary Court in April sentenced three prominent progressive activists to six years in prison in connection with protests. The men were high-ranking officials of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, a reformist party that supported Mousavi in the disputed election. Iranian authorities jailed prominent Iranian journalist Mohammad Nourizad and reform movement leader Hossein Marashi on similar charges in April and March, respectively. Also in March, an Iranian appeals court upheld the death sentence of 20-year-old student Mohammad Amin Valian, who took part in anti-government protests in December. In February, the US and EU jointly issued a statement condemning Iran’s action against protesters and political dissenters.

From Jurist, June 4. Used with permission.

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