Ebadi Calls for a Campaign to Release Opposition Leaders
Calls for Release Mount on the Anniversary of House Arrest of Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard
(26 January 2012) Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, today called for a sustained international campaign for the release of three opposition leaders under house arrest for nearly a year.
“I support the call [of political prisoners] and invite all freedom-loving people across the globe to do all they can for the release of prisoners of conscience in Iran, particularly Ms. Zahra Rahnavard, Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mr. Mehdi Karroubi,” Ebadi said in her statement released today.
Referring to the upcoming parliamentary elections, Ebadi said, “I invite all my compatriots to boycott these staged elections on 2 March to once more show the international community that the Islamic Republic of Iran lacks legitimacy.”
Ebadi’s statement was released on the heels of a similar call by 39 prominent political prisoners published on the opposition website Kaleme on 25 January 2012. The statement said, “We call upon all freedom fighting citizens across the globe to create public awareness regarding the upcoming sham and rigged parliamentary elections in February, and to continue to do everything in their power to ensure that the detained leaders of the Green Movement are released in the month of February.”
Authorities placed Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard under de facto house arrest in February 2011, after they called for a rally in solidarity with popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt. Authorities ignored their request for a rally permit. Nevertheless, thousands of people took peacefully to the streets on 14 February 2011, only to face violent repression by authorities.
Since that time, Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard have been largely held at their homes with little to no access to communication and only infrequent contact with their families. Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard are not subject to formal judicial proceedings and no charges have ever been formally announced.
“After a year without indictment or trial, what is happening to Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard can no longer be called a house arrest without formal process. This is simply a kidnapping,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
Signatories to the 25 January 2012 call in alphabetical order:
Bahman Ahmadi Amouee; Hassan Asadi Zeidabadi; Javad Emam; Mohsen Amin Zadeh; Massoud Bastani; Emad Bahavar; Seyed Ali Reza Beheshti Shirazi; Seyed Mostafa Tajzadeh; Saeed Jalalifar; Ali Jamali; Amir Khoram; Babak Dashab; Mohammad Davari; Majid Dori; Amir Khosrow Dalirsani; Ali Reza Rajai; Hossein Zarini; Issa Saharkhiz; Davood Soleymani; Mohammad Seifzadeh; Ghassem Shole Saadi; Keyvan Samimi; Fereydoon Seyedizad; Jalil Taheri; Mohammad Farid Taheri Ghazvini; Feizollah Arabsorkhi; Siamak Ghaderi; Abolfazl Ghadyani; Farshad Ghorbanpour; Saeed Matinpour; Mohsen Mohagheghi; Mehdi Mahmoudian; Mohammad Reza Motamadnia; Ali Malihi; Abdollah Momeni; Mohsen Mirdamadi; Behzad Nabavi; Zia Nabavi and; Abolfazl Abedini