Iran has released 85,000 prisoners in an emergency bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani casts his vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Tehran, Iran February 21, 2020. Official Presidential website/Handout via REUTERS

Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani casts his vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Tehran

  • Iran has temporarily released 85,000 prisoners as the coronavirus crisis escalates in the region.
  • Its judiciary minister Gholamhossein Esmaili announced the decision on Monday.
  • Political prisoners are reportedly among those released. It is unclear whether Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual citizen detained in Iran since 2016, is among them.
  • Over 14,000 people in Iran had infected the COVID-19 virus as of Monday, with over 850 deaths.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Iranian government has temporarily released 85,000 prisoners in an emergency move to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, Iran's judiciary minister, on Tuesday said: Some 50% of those released are security-related prisoners... also in the jails we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak," Sky News reported.

Conditions inside Iran's jails have reportedly deteriorated within recent weeks, with inmates reporting large numbers of deaths from the Coronavirus in the country's overcrowded prisons.

As of Monday, over 850 people had died in Iran after catching the COVID-19 virus, with more than 14,000 infected.

Those who have passed away include religious leaders. Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, who sits on the clerical body responsible for choosing Iran's supreme leader, died two days after contracting the virus.

A number of political prisoners are reportedly included among those released by the Iranian regime this week.

It is not clear whether Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual citizen detained in Iran since 2016, has also been released.

Business Insider has asked for UK Foreign Office to confirm Zaghari-Ratcliffe's status.

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