Iran: One Iranian imprisoned every 47 seconds, while Hundreds
sign appeal for free elections
Tehran, 5 May (AKI) - Iranian jails are increasingly overcrowded with
a new prisoner "crossing the threshold into one of the country's
jails every 47 seconds," according to Naser Jafargholi, the director
general for the programming of penal institutions in Iran.
At present, there are 130,000 people detained in Iran, one for
every 524 Iranians. This is one of the highest ratios of the
proportion of population jailed in a country.
He announced that authorities are dealing with the emergency through
the construction of a new jail, but he also claimed that the
situation of congested prisons is even worse in some other countries.
At present, there are 130,000 people detained in Iran, one for every
524 Iranians, Jafargholi said.
More than 250 academics, lawyers and journalists have signed an open
letter calling for free elections in Iran, the abolition of the
hardline Guardian Council, and the immediate liberation of the
country's estimated 200 political prisoners. Iran's former foreign
minister Ibrahim Yazdi and the award-winning translator from Italian
to Farsi, Farina Davoodi Mohajer, have also signed the letter.
Reformists in Iran fear the Guardian Council - an unelected body -
will bar reformist candidates from running in Iran's 17 June
presidential elections, as occurred in the country's last
parliamentary elections, when the Guardian Council banned more than
70 percent of candidates, almost all of whom were liberal. This
cleared the way for conservative and radical Islamist MPs to pack the
Majils - Iran's parliament.
The letter's signatories argue that only the sovereign Iranian people
can select the best candidate to lead the country. The Guardian
Council can block all legislation, aswell as candidates running for
office in any election.
The Guardian Council comprises six hard-line clerics appointed by
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and six lawyers selected by
parliament from a list presented by the judiciary's head - who
Khamenei also appoints.
Story Credits: ADNKI and ADNKI