Disorderly conduct charges were dropped last night against he 20 Iranian women arrested in demonstrations here Sunday. The women were released from the D.C. Jail and turned over to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
A decision is expected today on whether to release the approximately 173 Iranian men also arrested Sunday and still being held in the jail.
A city prosecutor said the women were released because they would not have spent more time in jail if they had been tried and convicted.
Trial dates had been set for Aug. 18, and bond was denied after the Iranians declined to give their names.
After being released from jail the women were taken to the local immigration office. INS had obtained permission to hold the Iranians until it could be determined whether they have violated immigration regulations.
"We are trying to find housing for them (the women)," David Crosland, acting commissioner of the INS, said in an interview early this morning. "They are being interviewed and advised of their rights."
If they give their names to the INS, Crossland said, "we will check their stories" and if they are in compliance with visa conditions, they will be released.
Those who identify themselves but are believed not in compliance could be released on bond while deportation proceedings begin, he said. Crossland said deportation proceedings will be instituted against those who decline to give their names.
He said the Iranian men still in jail would undergo a similar process if released.
D.C. corrections officials said earlier yesterday that none of the Iranians had eaten solid food since their arrests. The officail said both men and women were accepting only sugar water and only at night. Their jailing came during the Islamic month of Ramadan, a holy period in which devout Moslems neither eat nor drink during daylight hours.
Full details f the release of the women were not immediately available last night. According to one report, three women guards at the jail were injured in scuffling that accompanied the release.