Iranian authorities agreed to temporarily release Keyvan Samimi, veteran journalist and human rights advocate, from prison on medical grounds, as announced by Samimi’s lawyer on February 1, 2022. Article 522 of the penal code allows detainees to obtain medical leave if the case judge and prison physician agree treatment is “necessary.”
Samimi, 73, has liver disease and other ailments that put him at increased risk of complications if infected with Covid-19.
Authorities granted temporary releases to tens of thousands of detainees in 2020, citing Covid-19 concerns, but many of those imprisoned for peaceful dissent were excluded from the releases. Authorities also announced that social distancing measures would be observed in prisons. Since then, however, numerous human rights defenders arbitrarily detained have become seriously ill or died from complications of Covid-19.
Iran’s prison authorities should continue to facilitate the temporary release of all eligible prisoners and unconditionally release all people detained for peaceful dissent.
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