Iran has released 709 prisoners after winning a football match in Qatar against the Wales team. Iran’s team started the World Cup with an ignominious defeat against England (2-6), but won 2-0 against Wales on Friday.
The judicial authorities have announced that the winning match led to the releases. Those released include “some who have been arrested in recent events.” This refers to the fierce protests that broke out across the country after a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian died in mid-September after her arrest for violating dress codes. According to the family, her death was the result of police brutality. According to an investigation by the authorities, she had a long-standing ailment that led to her death.
Since mid-September, massive demonstrations have been taking place in the country hit by Western sanctions for women’s rights, ethnic groups, human rights and better economic conditions and against the regime of the arch-conservative Shiite clergy led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Thousands of people have been arrested and more than 2,000 have been charged, according to official figures, for their role in the protests. According to human rights groups, around 400 people have been killed in the violent demonstrations across the country.
The authorities have released the actress Hengameh Ghaziani on bail. She was arrested more than a week ago after publicly supporting the protest movement. Her release on bail seems to be completely separate from the releases following the World Cup in Qatar.
Images have also appeared on social media of the actress and filmmaker Soheila Golestani walking through a park without a headscarf and who supports the protest and is joined by eight women who also do not wear a headscarf. Several people from the Iranian film world have supported the protests and have been detained, such as the actress Katayoun Riahi and the directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Jafar Panahi.