They have released thieves, murderers, crooks and criminals from their dreadful prisons, but the Islamic Republic has never even had any intention to release political prisoners, despite the propaganda it launched in the media around the world.
Lying remains the most important tool of governing for regime’s officials and their apparatus.
Initially, the head of the judiciary, Ibrahim Raisi, issued a media briefing on Feb 26, reporting the release of 80,000 prisoners, half of whom were supposedly political prisoners. Shahnaz Akmali, a grieving mother who they first killed her son and then imprisoned herself, was granted leave. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an innocent citizen whom the regime uses as a hostage, was sent on furlough. A few Gonabadi Dervishes also allowed temporary leave. According to the false number stated in the directive, more than 40,000 political prisoners should now have been released. That never happened. It was the only number that was circulated in all the international media.
Not long afterwards – let us not forget that not only the wicked and blood-stained face of the regime was not cleansed of the November massacre in the international community but because of the deliberate downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane (PS752) by IRGC air defense system and the killing of 176 innocent people, then the spread of the Coronavirus in the country and the secrecy surrounding the existence of diseases in the cities of Iran and refusing to quarantine Qom as the center of the disease, was also discredited with other lies and crimes- Khamenei exploited the same lie as his Head of the Judiciary, former member of “death committee”, and in a letter on March 17 which was published in state-owned media agreed to the release of a few prisoners. These government correspondences between the authorities that are published in the public domain are for propaganda purposes only. They broadcast news without doing anything or if something happens, it is purely symbolic. They arrogantly call this: “Islamic Kindness.”
The situation of Iran’s prisons is so terrible that no accurate and reliable statistics are available on the number of prisoners or even the number of detention centers and prisons in the country. 500,000 of people are imprisoned in Iran every year. This is the number from 4 years ago. A number released in the official government news agency, IRNA. Numbers leaked from time to time via government agencies – more than 400,000 inmates held in rundown prisons built to hold up to 120,000, deprived of any basic health facilities to survive, there are private detention centers and security houses of the IRGC that have not been registered anywhere, let alone be monitored and supervised,… ـ everything is pointing towards a humanitarian catastrophe behind the walls of Iranian prisons. The regime’s propaganda machines even made news from this tragedy.
It is one of the most devious features of bureaucracy; there is one side of the equation, minimum work and action, and on the other side a maximum of futile complexities, numbers and conditions. The result of this equation is news and maximum use of propaganda. According to Khamenei’s letter, all political prisoners who are sentenced to less than 5 years in prison and one-third of their sentence has been served are to be released. If that really happened, thousands of political prisoners would have been released in Iran.
Amnesty International in response to the Khamenei news release on the “amnesty” of political prisoners wrote: “The Iranian authorities are still a long way from the release of all ideological prisoners and many, including human rights activists and peaceful protesters, in connection with the November and December 2019 protests have not been released. “
But Khamenei and the Judiciary under his command did not release even the same number of prisoners subject to their propaganda. The names and specifics of some of these political prisoners who were supposed to be released as promised by the regime have been published by human rights organizations. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, must react to this misconduct by the Islamic Republic and its propaganda abuses of political prisoners. Our silence will make them be forgotten. The ones who, not for their own sake but for us and our basic human rights, fought with executioners.
Translation of this post by Sahar.
Cover: Vincent Branciforti