Christian Prisoners In Iran Get Rare 10-Day Holiday Leave

Iran’s judiciary has granted Christian prisoners 10 days' leave to spend the holidays at home with their families, in a rare move toward members of the Islamic republic’s Christian minority.

"The decision is to mark the New Year 2022 and the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ," the judiciary's Mizan Online website said on December 26.

The website said that the head of the judiciary Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi instructed authorities across the country to issue the dispensation. But it wasn’t clear when the 10-day period starts, or how many Christian prisoners will benefit from the furlough.

According to Mizan Online, the measure doesn’t apply to inmates convicted for undermining security, organized crime, abductions, armed robberies, and those sentenced to death.

Most Christians in Iran are ethnic Armenians who celebrate Christmas on January 6.

Around that time of year, some shops in major cities put up decorations, including Christmas trees while people dressed up as Santa Claus stand outside stores.

Christians represent less than one percent of Iran's total population of 83 million, the majority of whom are Shi’ite Muslims.

Based on reporting by AFP and