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Iran’s Christian prisoners granted rare 10-day holiday leave

A man dressed as Santa greets Iranians as they walk past a shop selling Christmas decorations in the capital Tehran on December 24, 2021. (AFP)
A man dressed as Santa greets Iranians as they walk past a shop selling Christmas decorations in the capital Tehran on December 24, 2021. (AFP)

The head of Iran’s judiciary grants Christian prisoners 10 days’ liberty to spend the holidays with families, in a rare move towards the minority community.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei instructs authorities across the country to issue the dispensation, according to the judiciary’s Mizan Online website.

“The decision is to mark the New Year 2022 and the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ,” the website says. Mizan Online does not say how many Christian prisoners will benefit from the furlough, or when the 10-day period starts.

It says, however, that inmates convicted for undermining security, organized crime, abductions, armed robberies and those sentenced to death would not be granted the 10 days of liberty.

According to local media, Christians represent just one percent of Iran’s total population of 83 million, the majority of whom are Shiite Muslims.

Most Christians in Iran are Armenians who celebrate Christmas on January 6, the day of the Epiphany.

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