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Release opposition leaders under house arrest three years on



The easing of restrictions placed on former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, university professor and political activist, Zahra Rahnavard, since the election of President Rouhani is not enough, warned Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the house arrest of the three opposition figures. The opposition leaders have been held without charge or trial for three years, with no possibility to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. The organization urges the Iranian authorities to immediately end their arbitrary detention and stop the harassment of their families.

The three opposition figures remain in a legal limbo as no security body is claiming responsibility for their prolonged house arrest amid contradictory official statements. In October 2013, Iran’s Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, said that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council was reviewing their house arrests but a month later Iran’s Prosecutor General and Judiciary spokesperson, Gholamhossein Mohseni Eje’i, said that “those who were put under house arrest after the 2009 election were criminals and had oppressed the people,” and that “no changes have been made in their punishment.” On 16 January 2014, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi stated during a conference that the “country would have witnessed renewed protest, unrest, and demonstrations had there been a trial” and therefore authorities have determined that “they should remain restricted.” On 4 February 2014, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi announced that the opposition figures “could be pardoned” if they repent and promise to abide by the country’s laws, a position confirmed by Gholamhossein Mohseni Eje’i on 11 February 2014 when he announced that “as long as the sedition leaders do not repent, nothing else will be done and their situation will remain the same”.

In February 2011, the Iranian authorities placed all three individuals in effect under house arrest after Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi called for demonstrations in support of the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region. Despite repeated international calls for their release, not only have the Iranian authorities refused to release the opposition figures but have also subjected their family members to harassment and persecution

The authorities have prevented all three individuals from meeting and communicating regularly with other members of their families. In October 2013, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard’s daughters were permitted a short visit with their parents for the occasion of the Shi’a Muslim holy day, Eid al-Ghadeer, but were allegedly assaulted by female security officers during the visit. In February 2013, two days before the second anniversary of the arbitrary house arrests of their parents, Zahra and Narges Mousavi, daughters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, and Mohammad Hossein Karroubi, son of Mehdi Karroubi were arrested. They were released later the same day.

Of particular concern to Amnesty International are the health conditions of the three figures, all of whom are suffering with physical ailments and have at times been unable to have access to adequate medical care. In July 2013, Mir Hossein Mousavi was finally allowed to visit a hospital under the supervision of security officers after suffering from a heart condition for one year. In October 2013 he told his daughters of his wife’s health condition, as Zahra Rahnavard appears to suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

Mehdi Karroubi’s health has also been deteriorating since his house arrest; he has had no proper access to sunlight and fresh air and has been suffering of osteoporosis and very low vitamin D levels. He had been held in a Ministry of Intelligence safe house in Tehran since his house arrest until he was moved to his own home in Tehran on 2 February 2013 where he is under watch by security officers. The windows in the safe house had been covered with dark sheets, stopping any sunlight from coming in. According to Mehdi Karroubi’s son, Mohammad Hossein Karroubi, his father’s doctors in November 2013 had said that in order to stop his health from deteriorating further, Mehdi Karroubi would need access to direct sunlight and physiotherapy, among other medical treatments. In January 2014, Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi’s wife, said that her husband had been hospitalized for nine days after undergoing back surgery in a Tehran hospital.

In August 2012, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, issued an opinion that the Iranian authorities had violated not only international law but also Iranian law by arbitrarily detaining Mehdi Karoubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard. The Working Group recommended that the Iranian government release them immediately and provide them with compensation as provided for in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.


Mir Hossein Mousavi, former Prime Minister and Mehdi Karroubi, former Speaker of Iran’s parliament, had been presidential candidates in the 2009 election in which the incumbent President Mahmoud

Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, in disputed circumstances. The announcement of his victory set off huge protests in Tehran and other cities, which the authorities violently suppressed, followed by arrests and show trials of journalists, government critics, and opposition activists linked to the campaigns of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. After the election, authorities tightly monitored and controlled the movements of both men and their wives, and suspended the presidential candidates’ newspapers Etemad-e Melli and Kalameyeh Sabz. In mid-February 2011, in the wake of their joint appeal for Iranians to demonstrate in support of pro-reform protests in Egypt and Tunisia, the men and their wives were placed under house arrest without court orders.

Amnesty International


Release Government Critics from Three-Year House Arrest

(February 14, 2014)—The Iranian government must end the inhumane practice of holding its critics under house arrest for years without due process, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. February 14, 2014, marks three years since Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Zahra Rahnavard were placed under a de facto and illegal house arrest in Tehran.

“It’s astonishing that with all of President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks about citizens’ rights, these three leading political figures are still under house arrest, an absolute injustice and disrespect for citizens’ rights,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“Though Iran’s Supreme Leader is ultimately responsible, as the head of Iran’s National Security Council President Rouhani can and should stop the ongoing house arrests, which continue to cast a long shadow over his intentions and remarks about respecting his people,” Ghaemi added.

On January 30, reporter Fareed Zakaria wrote in the Washington Post, “Rouhani hinted to me, for example, that in the next few months, the leaders of the Green Movement would be released.”

However, less than two weeks later on February 11, the Iranian Judiciary’s Spokesperson and Prosecutor General Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters that Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard will not be released until they repent. “Some people are pointlessly trying to lift the house arrest. They won’t get anywhere,” he said. Ejei said that as long as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard do not condemn their “criminal actions” and “repent,” nothing will change in their state of house arrest and “things will remain the same.”

None of the three detained dissidents has been charged with any crime, nor have they had any trial. In addition to Iranian activists and international human rights groups, several different bodies of the United Nations have repeatedly urged the Iranian government to release the opposition figures, including the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Iran, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and on arbitrary detention.

Iranian officials initially placed former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, along with their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, under house arrest on February 14, 2011, after they called for demonstrations in support of the popular uprisings in the region. While they released Fatemeh Karroubi, the other three have remained under house arrest for three years without charges or trial.

“The ongoing house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard shows the world how the Iranian Judiciary works and how basic norms and standards like due process are ignored. Nothing could highlight the politicization of justice and repression in Iran more than the house arrests of political critics,” Ghaemi said.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on the Iranian government to end the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi, and to release all prisoners of conscience.

News of a Kidnapping:
The House Arrest of Iran’s Opposition Leaders

In February 2011, Iranian security forces prevented Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, Mehdi Karroubi, and Fatemeh Karroubi from leaving their homes. By February 15, it was clear they had been placed under de facto house arrest. Three years later, all four Green Movement leaders remain under house arrest without any legal process. This interactive timeline marks key dates over the course of their detainment. Mousavi, when asked by his daughters to describe his time spent in house arrest, told them to read the Gabriel García Márquez novel News of a Kidnapping:

Sunday, 6 February 2011
Mousavi and Karroubi Organize Peaceful Demonstrations

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, two 2009 presidential candidates who came to be known as the “Green Movement Leaders” during the post-election protests against alleged electoral fraud, write a letter to the Ministry of Interior requesting a permit to demonstrate “to support the uprisings of the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples.” They ask the government to grant a “permit for public demonstrations on Monday, 14 February, from 3:00 p.m., starting in Imam Hossein Square and ending in Azadi Square in Tehran.” The Ministry of Interior denied the permit. Officials had also rejected Mousavi and Karroubi’s prior permit requets since the 2009 election.

Source: Saham News, Letter, Flickr