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Pardons issued for 22,000 people arrested in Iran protests after Mahsa Amini’s death

Some 22,000 people arrested in the recent Iran protests that swept the Islamic Republic have been pardoned, according to the country’s head of judiciary.

Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi was quoted as announcing the figure by the state-run IRNA news agency on Monday.

He claimed a total of 82,656 prisoners and those facing charges had been pardoned, and of those, some 22,000 had been arrested during the demonstrations.

Mr Ejehi added that those pardoned had not committed theft or violent crimes.

Previous reports had suggested Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could pardon many people who were caught up in the demonstrations ahead of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Months of continuing protests were sparked in September by the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the country’s morality police.

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October 2022: Why are Iranians protesting?

The judiciary’s announcement suggests that Iran’s theocracy now feels secure enough to admit the scale of the unrest, which marked one of the most serious challenges to the establishment since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Tens of thousands of people were also detained in the purges that followed the revolution.

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But many are still angry as the nation struggles through the collapse of its currency, the rial, as well as economic woes and uncertainty of its ties to the rest of the world after the collapse of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Last month, Iran acknowledged that “tens of thousands” had been detained in the recent protests, so Mr Ejehi’s announcement on Monday offered an even higher figure than what activists had previously cited.

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Human Rights Activists, a group in Iran that has been tracking the crackdown, reported that more than 19,700 people were arrested during the protests.

The group claimed that at least 530 people had been killed as authorities violently suppressed demonstrations.

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