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.