Iran has temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners to help combat the spread of coronavirus.
The country’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 853 and a total of 14,991 people have been confirmed infected, one of the worst national outbreaks outside China, where the new virus originated.
Gholamhossein Esmaili, a spokesman for Iran’s judicary, said: “Some 50% of those released are security-related prisoners… Also in the jails we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak.”
On March 10, the U.N. 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.
Esmaili did not elaborate on when those released would have to return to jail.
Javaid Rehman, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said earlier in March that Iranian prisoners have been infected with coronavirus.
There were 129 coronavirus fatalities in Iran on Monday, the largest one-day rise in deaths since it began battling the outbreak.
Religious leader Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, 78, is one of the hundreds that have died from the bug. He tested positive for coronavirus just two days before he died.
He was the latest of several senior Iranian officials to have been infected in the worsening outbreak.
The semi-official Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported that Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei, a low-profile, moderate member of the Assembly of Experts, died after contracting Covid-19.
At least 12 former and current Iranian politicians and officials are understood to have died from the virus, acc
Businesses in Tehran, Iran’s capital city, remained open as of Monday.