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07/04/2019 Iran (International Christian Concern) – A spokesperson for Iran’s Judiciary, Gholamhossein Esmaili, appeared on state television to provide an official statement about the recent death of an incarcerated political prisoner. He denied the existence of political prisoners, instead claiming that some who have committed crimes against security prefer to falsely call themselves a political prisoner.

This is not the first time that Iran’s judiciary has felt pressured to make a statement regarding the status of political prisoners. Earlier this year, the Judiciary’s chief made a similar statement where he said that Iran classifies political and security offenses differently. Such a classification is perceived as an inadequate attempt to avoid both domestic and international pressure regarding the incarceration of political prisoners.

Political prisoner or prisoner of conscience terminology is often applied internationally to Iranian Christians, who are usually arrested on security charges. The government justifies these charges on the basis that the country is officially Islamic and thus any other religion is an inherent threat to the country’s system of governance. Christians usually face extremely harsh prison conditions, where they are exposed to an inhumane living environment, torture, and other forms of mistreatment.

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