Iran temporarily frees 85,000 prisoners amid coronavirus

A total of 14,991 people have been confirmed infected across Iran. (AFP)
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Updated 17 March 2020

Iran temporarily frees 85,000 prisoners amid coronavirus

  • Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 853
  • A total of 14,991 people have been confirmed infected across the country

DUBAI: Iran has temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, a spokesman for its judiciary said on Tuesday, in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
“Some 50% of those released are security-related prisoners ... Also in the jails we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak,” said Gholamhossein Esmaili.
On March 10, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran said he had asked Tehran to free all political prisoners temporarily from its overcrowded and disease-ridden jails to help stem the spread of coronavirus.
Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 853 and a total of 14,991 people have been confirmed infected across the country, one of the worst national outbreaks outside China, where the new virus originated.
Esmaili did not elaborate on when those released would have to return to jail.
Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said earlier in March that Iranian prisoners have been infected with coronavirus.


Saudi Arabia backs UAE bid for non-permanent UN Security Council seat

Updated 5 min 20 sec ago

Saudi Arabia backs UAE bid for non-permanent UN Security Council seat

  • The UAE earlier proposed the allocation of a permanent seat for Arabs in the UN Security Council

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is backing its Gulf neighbor, the UAE’s bid for a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2022-23.

Khalid bin Muhammad Manzalawi, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, called on other countries to support the UAE candidacy during a virtual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group of the world body.

Manzalawi said the ‘UAE has succeeded in addressing major issues closely related to international cooperation, peace, security, and sustainable development’ and ‘it has a leading humanitarian action, represented through its close cooperation with the United Nations and international partners to reach the common goal of achieving lasting peace in the Middle East and around the entire world.’

The Saudi envoy praised the UAE’s efforts ‘to promote the message of peace, spread a culture of tolerance, in addition to its work in supporting diplomatic efforts aimed at settling disputes by peaceful means through dialogue and confidence-building.’

The UAE earlier repeated its call for the allocation of a permanent seat for Arabs in the UN Security Council, which could be filled by rotation as is done by the League of Arab States.

The enlargement of permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council should be consistent and approved by at least two thirds of the members of the General Assembly, Abdul Aziz Nasser Al-Shamsi, the UAE's permanent representative to the UN, has proposed.