Leader grants clemency to 691 prisoners

June 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pardoned or commuted prison terms of 691 convicts found guilty by various courts.

The pardon was granted at the request of Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important Islamic festivals.

Some sources have said Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese-American national who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2015 on charge of working with the U.S. intelligence service, can be one of the most prominent prisoners released on this occasion.

A source familiar with the case told the Lebanese-based Daily Star on Saturday that he will arrive in Beirut within 48 hours.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry announced earlier this week that Iran had agreed to free Zakka after President Michel Aoun and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil requested for his release as a good-will gesture in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Zakka was arrested during a trip to Iran in 2015 on charge of having “deep links” to U.S. intelligence services.

Article 110 of the Constitution grants the Leader the right to pardon or reduce the sentences of convicts upon a recommendation from the head of the Judiciary.

The clemency, however, does not apply to all types of convicts, including those who have been sentenced for their role in armed struggle against the country, armed or organized drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, arms smuggling, abduction, bribery and embezzlement.

Eid al-Fitr, also called the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

The religious festival is a day that Muslims are not permitted to fast on that specific day.

The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal.

SP/PA

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