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Iran grants amnesty to thousands of protesters

Iran has granted amnesty to 82,000 people, including 22,000 protesters, according to the judiciary chief.

Addressing a meeting of the top judiciary council, Mohseni Ejei said on Monday so far 82,000 people have been pardoned following a decree issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month.

The judiciary chief, however, clarified that those accused of “violent crimes and thefts” have not been included in the general amnesty.

In early February, Ayatollah Khamenei agreed to mass amnesty for tens of thousands of prisoners, including those arrested in recent protests that rocked the country.

The amnesty came in response to a proposal by Ejei that called for pardon and commutation of sentences for a “significant number” of convicts and suspects.

Nationwide protests

The countrywide protests were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody in mid-September, leading to thousands of arrests.

At least 200 people were killed in the unrest, according to Iranian officials. Western human rights groups, however, have put the toll at more than 500.

More than a dozen protesters were sentenced to death by the judiciary, with four of them already executed.

The amnesty didn’t include those convicted of spying for foreign agencies and affiliation with groups hostile to the Islamic Republic.

The announcement by the judiciary chief came as Iran and the US are engaged in indirect negotiations over a prisoner swap, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying earlier on Monday that Tehran is “ready” for the deal.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state TV on Sunday that Iran has reached an agreement with the US to swap prisoners. His claim was, however, denied by the US.

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