Free Them Now: End Arbitrary House Arrests of Green Movement Leaders
The Iranian Judiciary and Iran’s National Security Council should put an immediate end to four years of extrajudicial house arrest of Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
The Campaign also seeks to call attention to the plight of hundreds of prisoners of conscience who remain in Iranian prisons, many of them since the crackdown on the peaceful protests that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran, with the “Free Them Now” initiative launched today.
“The effective imprisonment of opposition political candidates for over four years without charge is an obscene miscarriage of justice and a violation of Iranian and international law,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Campaign.
Iranian authorities initially ordered the house arrest of former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, in the week of February 14-21, 2011, after the Green Movement leaders publicly called for demonstrations in support of the popular uprisings at that time known as the “Arab Spring.” While Fatemeh Karroubi was eventually released, the other three have remained under house arrest without charges or prosecution since that time. Karroubi and Mousavi have also been denied critically needed medical treatment during this period of effective incarceration.
In recent months, Mehdi Karroubi has called on Iranian parliamentarian Ali Motahari to seek justice for the opposition leaders. Motahari, who is the highest ranking person in government to decry the detention of these three leaders, sent an open letter to the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, on January 4, 2015, that called the continuation of the house arrests illegal and demanded a fair and public trial for Karroubi and Mousavi.
In the letter Motahari wrote, “You can hold a fair public trial without fear of an imaginary sedition.” Iranian officials have consistently referred to the peaceful protests that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran as “sedition.” Motahari’s personal website was reportedly blocked a day after it published his letter.
Iranian officials claim that the decision to put these three leaders under house arrest was made by the previous administration’s National Security Council, a political body that lies outside the Judiciary. President Rouhani now serves as the head of the National Security Council, and yet, despite prior pledges concerning “the necessity of ending the house arrest” of these three leaders, he has yet to take any tangible public action towards this end, well into the second year of his term. On February 6, 2015, Iran’s Minister of Justice Mostafa Pourmohammadi stated that the issue of the house arrests is not on the “agenda” of the government, President Rouhani’s cabinet, or the National Security Council.
“Rouhani campaigned on a platform of championing citizens’ rights; there are few greater rights than protection against imprisonment without charge, access to counsel, or any other semblance of due process,” said Ghaemi. “As head of the National Security Council, President Rouhani has the power to release these three leaders and likely wields even more power than the Judiciary on this matter. His lack of attention to these cases calls into question his commitment to this issue.”
The Campaign’s call for the release of the three Green Movement leaders, as well as for the release of the hundreds of political prisoners who remain in Iranian jails, adds to the repeated entreaties of the UN Secretary General and other UN human rights bodies, leading human rights organizations worldwide, prominent Iranian activists, and governments around the globe who have called for the immediate release of these three leaders and all prisoners of conscience in Iran.
“The international community should make it clear to the authorities in Tehran that Iran’s international rehabilitation and reintegration is contingent upon the release of these three leaders and the hundreds of political prisoners languishing in Iranian prisons,” said Gissou Nia, the Campaign’s deputy director.
The Campaign will be highlighting the cases of individual prisoners of conscience, as part of its “Free Them Now” initiative. Show your support by visiting “Free Them Now” and tweeting under the hashtag #FreeThemNow.
Tehran’s Choice: Live in House Arrest or Die in Court
In 2009, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi campaigned against President Ahmadinejad as reformists. The election ended with Ahmadinejad winning the presidency again and accusations of vote rigging by Ahmadinejad’s friend and Minister of Interior Sadegh Mahsouli. The results were upheld by Iran’s Guardian Council and within days, a nationwide protest was born and later “killed” in a severe crackdown by Supreme Leader Khamenei.
The two continued to campaign for reform but two years later, following their support of the Arab Spring, both were put under house arrest without a trial. Under house arrest, they have less rights and healthcare than even ordinary prisoners and have no access to news, telephone or internet. They are isolated even from their loved ones and have left their homes only for medical treatment.
To Trial or Not To Trial
They remain accused unofficially of sedition, “corrupting the earth” and an “unforgivable sin”. These accusations might not sound like much to a Western court but the punishment for these crimes in Iran is death. That’s why a lot of hardliners, including Khamenei himself, believe thatthe house arrests without a trial is an act of kindness and were Khomeini alive, they would both be dead. The crucial issue is that officially, they have not been accused officially of any crime since they are not to be tried in court.
Although it is widely believed that Mousavi and Karroubi are under arrest because of their accusations of rigged elections, some insiders point to their “seditious” behavior during the Arab Spring of 2011.
Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani makes no excuses and claims that not only are the house arrests 100% legal, the crimes of Mousavi and Karroubi “the 2009 Sedition was a move against national interests and 100% against our national security“. Larijani has no qualms about putting the two on trial. In fact he believes that there is enough evidence to find both guilty but they cannot be tried because of a mysterious “decree of national security”. And yet, in true Iranian style, his deputy, Mohseni Ejei announced that “if conditions permit”, both would stand trial.
Khamenei seems personally piqued by the fact that both have not “apologized” but insiders believe that even if an apology was issued, “their repentance would not be accepted”. The main issue they are expected to repent on remains their questioning of the election results, an issue which hurt Iran inn Khamenei’s eyes.
Calls to release Mousavi and Karroubi have echoed around the world since then. Even Rouhani called for their release during his election campaign but nothing is simple in Iran: it seems that releasing the two or putting them on trial is not under the jurisdiction of Rouhani. Once again, only Khamenei can make a definitive move here.
Now, calls for a fair and open trial are being heard from moderates and hardliners alike and their trial could turn into a real test for Khamenei, Rouhani and Iran. But more so, it is a test for Mousavi and Karroubi who have to choose between losing their freedom or losing their lives: either they continue to accept their house arrest and live or they go to trial and most probably face the gallows.
Rouhani: Rival Constituencies
Hassan Rouhani now faces the hard part. Iran’s president-elect won a decisive and surprising victory because he appealed to three conflicting constituencies— conservatives, reformists exiled from the political system, and Iranians dissatisfied with the status quo. Now his ability to govern will depend on satisfying disparate factions. Each has its own set of expectations—and each is also intent on coming out on top.
Rouhani may be able to deliver results precisely because he is an insider. Since the 1979 revolution, he has served in some of the Islamic Republic’s highest positions. Before his 2013 election, Rouhani was Iran’s national security advisor for 16 years and then head of a government think tank. So he has close ties to Iran’s military and national security establishment. Rouhani has also been a deputy speaker of parliament and a member of the Assembly of Experts ― the only constitutional body with the authority to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader. Among 686 candidates who registered, he was one of only eight allowed to run for the presidency. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard’s Position on the Upcoming Presidential Elections as Described by their Daughter Zahra
June 10th, 2013 – [Kaleme – Haniyeh Rezaii] In an interview with Kaleme opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s daughter Zahra Mousavi denounces the continued pressure and restrictions imposed upon her family, discusses Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard’s position on the upcoming presidential elections, while once again expressing concern regarding the physical well being of her parents.
The full content of Zahra Mousavi’s interview with Kaleme is as follows:
When was the last time you heard from your parents? Do you have any update on their current condition?
One of my sisters was recently allowed a very short visit with our parents. If we take this past visit into account, in the past 7 months two of us have been allowed one visitation and the third sister two visitations with our parents. As you can see our visitation rights continue to be restricted and we continue to grapple with the pressure imposed upon us by the security apparatus in Iran. We are also deprived of all phone calls. They won’t even grant us the basic rights afforded to all prisoners under the law. On the rare occasion that we have been granted visitation, it has been impossible to visit with our parents in a peaceful environment given the commotion associated with the unannounced and unexpected visitations, the extreme psychological pressure exerted on us and on our parents, the heavy presence of security officers and the watchful eyes of the security cameras. Given the restricted nature of the visitations we generally have little time for extensive conversations, other than greetings and a brief dialogue about our lives. As a result we don’t have detailed information on their condition and well being. It is difficult to have a real conversation both for them and for us.
In your opinion, how are your parents enduring their house arrest?
Our parents are political figures. Their life together has always been a combination of a normal and loving existence intertwined with their political activities. The ramifications of having a politically active life in countries with similar condition such as ours are apparent to all. As a result, despite the fact that the level of corruption and injustice far exceeds what they could have imagined, our parents were nevertheless always mentally prepared for the potential consequences of their political activism. Though they have always been in great spirits and their faith has only strengthened as a result of the difficulties over the years, their physical condition has however seriously deteriorated and this is one of our greatest concerns. We have endured the pain and anxiety of separation, the lack of news regarding our parents and the complex and cruel nature of the interactions with the security apparatus, but their physical condition is concerning to say the least.
Can you please expand upon this last point? What exact physical ailments are your parents suffering from?
My mother’s blood sugar has increased and the arthritis in her hands and shoulders is much more prominent. She is in pain and yet nothing has been done regarding her medical condition. My father was also supposed to go for a check up with the doctors who preformed his cardiac stent operation in May, but the security agents announced that they will take him to a hospital of their choice. When my father went for his first check up and stress test to this hospital affiliated with the security apparatus, as a result of an apparent collusion between the security agents and the physicians, they did not shut off the stress test machine despite the fact that my father was not feeling well and the stress test was positive. Given the circumstances of his last visit, my father did not feel comfortable putting his life in the hands of the aforementioned physicians and facility and did not agree to continue treatment there. As a result, he has been unable to complete his medical treatment. They are however providing him with the medicine that was prescribed by his former physician. Despite our continued insistence to review his medical files we continue to be deprived of access to his files. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Guide To Iran’s June 2013 Presidential Election
- THE PROCESS
- FROM INITIAL MANEUVERS TO FORMAL CANDIDACY
- FORMAL DECLARATIONS AND GUARDIAN COUNCIL VETTING
- CAMPAIGNING AND VOTE
- THE FACTIONS
- THE SUPREME LEADER’S CAMP
- THE PRINCIPLIST COMMITTEE OF FIVE
- THE AHMADINEJAD CAMP
- THE ENDURANCE FRONT
- THE RAFSANJANI CAMP
- OTHER CONSERVATIVES AND PRINCIPLISTS
- THE REFORMIST CAMP
The Iranian Presidential election takes place in three anchors: one unofficial and two official, leading to the vote on 14 June.
FROM INITIAL MANEUVERS TO FORMAL CANDIDACY
Months of maneuvering for position preceded the hopefuls‘ formal declaration of their intention to stand this week.
This year, the jockeying has involved tensions between the 2+1 coalition — which has sought but so far not decided upon a „unity“ candidate — and the more than 20 presidential hopefuls, including many conservatives and principlists, who have declared their aspiration to stand. By April, no less than seven different factions had emerged.
FORMAL DECLARATIONS AND GUARDIAN COUNCIL VETTING
The first official anchor of the election is from 7-11 May, when presidential hopefuls formally register their names for consideration by the Guardian Council.
The Guardian Council — which consists of 12 members, six experts in Islamic law — reviews all the submissions. It rules on the suitability of candidates according to qualifications, standing under Islam, loyalty to the Islamic Republic, and suitability for office. In 2009, the Council approved only four men — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohsen Rezaei — for the June election. This powerful group of jurists and clergy are is expected to make its final decision on the list of candidates by May 23, leaving little time for campaigning. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
Berlin| Künste und Menschenrechte im Iran: Mir Hossein Mousavi 49. Akademie-Gespräch/ Do, 06. Juni 2013
Do, 06. Juni 2013,
19:00 Uhr, Pariser Platz
Mir Hossein Mousavi, Demonstration in Teheran 2009
Der Künstler und Politiker Mir Hossein Mousavi und seine Frau, die Bildhauerin und Kunstprofessorin Zahra Rahnaward, stehen seit 2011 in Teheran unter Hausarrest. Jede Kommunikation mit der Außenwelt wird ihnen verwehrt, die freie Ausübung ihrer künstlerischen Arbeit ist für sie unmöglich. Der Oppositionsführer und Präsidentschaftskandidat hatte 2009 unmittelbar nach den Präsidentschaftswahlen in Teheran zu Massenprotesten gegen Wahlmanipulationen aufgerufen. Mit der Niederschlagung dieser Demonstrationen wurde die „Grüne Bewegung“ geboren.
Im Anschluss an die Ausstellungseröffnung sprechen Naika Foroutan und Klaus Staeck mit Ardeshir Amir Arjomand und Shirin Ebadi über die Situation des ehemaligen Präsidenten der iranischen Akademie der Künste und anderer verfolgter Künstler im Iran.
Die Ausstellung „Meditationen der Freiheit“ zeigt bis zum 23. Juni 28 Papierarbeiten von Mir Hossein Mousavi in der Akademie der Künste am Pariser Platz. Sie stammen aus dem letzten Jahrzehnt. Ein großer Teil seines Werks wurde beschlagnahmt. Mousavis abstrakte Arbeiten nehmen die Tradition der islamischen Mystik auf und verstehen sich als Meditationen zur individuellen und gesellschaftlichen Existenz.
Teilnehmer am Gespräch:
Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, Berater von Mir Hossein Mousavi
Shirin Ebadi, Juristin, erste Richterin im Iran, Friedensnobelpreisträgerin 2003, seit 2009 Exil in Großbritannien
Naika Foroutan, Sozialwissenschaftlerin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Klaus Staeck, Präsident der Akademie der Künste
Bis 23.6. werden ausgewählte Arbeiten von Mir Hossein Mousavi in der Akademie am Pariser Platz 4 gezeigt.
Iran Decides: 2013
By Omid Irani
With the Iranian presidential elections visible on the near horizon, the people of Iran and the wider international community watch eagerly to see who will assume the ranks as the next ostensible leader of Iran. Outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reluctant to ride off into the sunset graciously and quietly, creating an interesting backdrop within the larger canvas of Iranian presidential politics. Wasting no time, the candidates vetted and cleared to run along with those individuals barred from running have already exchanged sharp words about the differing ideologies, policies, and tactics that will undeniably saturate the larger discourse covering Iranian politics. Trying to parse through the various oscillating campaign promises and rhetorical talking points of the different candidates can be truly a tall task to undertake for participating voters in Iran. Naturally, the prospect of returning to the ballot boxes for such a high-profile election for the first time since the notorious 2009 elections is still fresh on every Iranian’s mind and will surely prove too daunting for some as the flashbacks of the bloody aftermath have already prompted some individuals to boycott this year’s election.
One Man, One Vote – Cartoon by Mana Neyestani, Iranwire.com
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Khomeini’s Rebel Grandchildren
By Helia Ighani and Garrett Nada
On the eve of a pivotal election, Iran’s theocratic regime faces one of its most striking challenges from the grandchildren of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the revolutionary leader who mobilized millions to end more than 2,500 years of dynastic rule. Seven of the 15 grandchildren have openly criticized the laws and the leadership since the mid-1990s. Two have publicly disapproved of election practices in the 2013 presidential poll. Four supported reformist candidates in the disputed 2009 presidential election.
Iranians “consider us faithful custodians of the thoughts of the Imam Khomeini, and so we get upset with whoever wants to move our country and our revolution away from the path outlined by the founder of the Islamic Republic,” Ali Eshraghi, a grandson, told the Italian Adnkronos International news agency in 2008. Eshraghi is an advocate of major reforms who was once barred from running for parliament.
Khomeini and his wife Batoul had five children. After his death in 1989, Khomeini’s daughter Zahra Mostafavi was the first family member to challenge the regime. In an open letter in May 2013, she urged the supreme leader to reverse the Guardian Council’s barring of former President Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani from running for president. She heads a party that advocates for women’s rights and increased political participation. The following is a rundown on the seven rebel grandchildren.
Barring women from presidential office in Iran a serious rights violation, UN experts say
Source: UN News Center
A group of United Nations experts today warned that measures preventing women and other citizens from running for presidential office in Iran constitute a serious violation of rights guaranteed by international law.
An Iranian woman registering as a candidate for president
Last week, Iran’s Guardian Council, a 12-member body of theologians and jurists which vets presidential candidates, approved only eight individuals out of the 686 people registered for the 14 June election. The 30 female candidates that applied were disqualified, as well as other key political figures, raising concerns about the fairness and transparency of the vetting procedures.
„This mass disqualification including that of women wishing to stand in the presidential elections is discriminatory and violates fundamental right to political participation, and runs contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified,“ said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed.
„Any restrictions on this right must be based on objective and reasonable criteria without distinction of any kind, including race, gender, religion, and political or other opinion,“ the expert said in a news release from the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR). Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
View What links here Iran: grim choices for president
Which candidate will be in a better position to weaken the Supreme Leader? Which will be less detrimental in terms of economic mismanagement? And which candidate less dangerous than the others in terms of brazen violations of human rights and civil liberties?
The mass uprising after the electoral coup of 2009, which came to be known as the Green Movement, involved a wide-ranging array of secular, left, liberal, and moderate religious elements. It was defeated mainly because of the unbelievably brutal suppression of the activists, which included killing, maiming, and raping arrested protesters. But the movement’s leadership also played a role. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoobi were both establishment figures; while they sought reforms, they did not want to challenge the regime in its totality. And the fact that the members of street movements failed to link up with workers and employees who had the power to shut down factories and other institutions as they had done during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, also contributed to this failure.
The situation is much worse for the democratic forces in Iran for this round of presidential elections than was the case in 2009. This is true despite the fact that the ruling cliques’ infighting has reached an unprecedented level, anddifferent groups of the “Principlists” (ultra-right religious fundamentalists) who were united against the Islamist reformists during the last elections, are now openly fighting each other. The leadership hopes to prevent the election of any candidate that would not be loyal and subservient to the Supreme Leader. The manipulation of the electoral process in the Islamic Republic is now a long-standing tradition that takes place in two stages. Firstly, candidates must be approved by the twelve member Guardianship Council (appointed by the Supreme Leader). Secondly, when the electoral process starts, they mobilize a sophisticated machinery to ensure their favoured candidates’ emerge as victors when the polls close, either by actual or fabricated votes. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags