Iran temporarily released 54,000 prisoners to combat coronavirus spread

Iran temporarily released 54,000 prisoners to combat coronavirus spread
The outbreak of Covid-19 in Iran has killed at least 77 people in less than two weeks. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times, Tehran: Iran has temporarily released more than 54,000 prisoners in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus disease in crowded jails.

The inmates were granted furlough after testing negative for Covid-19 and posting bail, according to the judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili.

“Security prisoners” sentenced to more than five years will not be let out.

Among who are temporarily released includes the jailed British-Iranian charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

British MP Tulip Siddiq hinted her release.

Ms Tulip cited the Iranian ambassador to the UK as saying that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe “may be released on furlough today or tomorrow”.

On Sunday, her husband said that he believed she had contracted the new coronavirus, called Covid-19 and that the prison authorities were refusing to test her.

But Iranian ambassador to the UK said that Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe had subsequently been in contact with her family and “told them about her good health”.

Iran is one of the worst affected countries in this coronavirus outbreak. At least 77 people have died in the country in less than two weeks.

The number of confirmed cases in the country rose by 50% for the second day in a row, making the county’s total cases to 2,336. But the real number is believed to far higher.

A number of senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus, including the latest case is the head of the emergency medical services, Pirhossein Kolivand.

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