Iranian authorities gave furloughs to a number of political prisoners on the occasion of the Iranian New Year and the arrival of Norooz.
Happy IranianNew Year - by Mana Neyestani
On Wednesday March 20, prominent student activist Emad Bahavar was given a temporary release from Evin Prison after serving three years. Bahavar was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 2010 for "collusion for assembly against national security, propaganda against the regime and insulting the leader."
Reports also indicate that jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was also given a furlough for Norooz. Sotoudeh has been serving a six-year sentence since 2010 and was given her first furlough only last January. Sotoudeh has been very critical of the mistreatment of prisoners and has gone on hunger strikes on several occasions to protest against prison and judicial authorities.
Mehdi Khodayi, Mahsa Amrabadi and Ahmadreza Ahmadpour are among the other prisoners given furlough to spend the New Year with their families.
Reports also indicate that jailed journalist Jila Bani-Yaghoub was not allowed a leave, although her husband, Bahman Ahmadi Amouyi, another jailed journalist, was given leave.
Bani-Yaghoub is serving a one-year sentence and has been banned from journalistic activities for 30 years.
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