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.
Anlässlich des vierten Jahrestages des Hausarrests der iranischen Oppositionsführer Karroubi und Moussavi erklärte der Menschenrechtsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung im Auswärtigen Amt, Christoph Strässer, heute (13.02.):
Seit dem 14.02.11 stehen die iranischen Oppositionsführer Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Moussavi sowie dessen Ehefrau Zahra Rahnavard unter Hausarrest. Ein Gerichtsverfahren wurde bis heute nicht eröffnet. Der Hausarrest entbehrt somit jeglicher rechtsstaatlichen Grundlage.
Ich fordere die iranische Führung auf, den Hausarrest nach nunmehr vier Jahren endlich aufzuheben.
Iran hat den Internationalen Pakt über bürgerliche und politische Rechte ratifiziert und sich damit verpflichtet, die Rechte all seiner Bürger zu achten und zu schützen. Fortgesetzter willkürlicher Freiheitsentzug ist ein eindeutiger Verstoß hiergegen!
Die beiden iranischen Oppositionspolitiker Mir Hossein Moussavi und Mehdi Karroubi waren 2009 im Präsidentschaftswahlkampf gegen den damaligen Amtsinhaber Ahmadinejad angetreten. Im Zuge der sich nach der Verkündung des Wahlergebnisses formierenden Protestbewegung (“Grüne Bewegung”) wurden sie zu deren Repräsentanten stilisiert. Nachdem ihre Bewegungsfreiheit bereits zuvor erheblich eingeschränkt worden war, wurden sie sowie Moussavis Ehefrau Zahra Rahnavard am 14.02.11 unter Hausarrest gestellt. Bis heute wurde keine formale Anklage durch die iranischen Justizbehörden erhoben, der Hausarrest jedoch aufrechterhalten.
Quelle: Auswärtige Amt
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
As we approach the eleventh presidential election in the Islamic Republic of Iran, two of the candidates from the previous election remain under house arrest. Ahmadinejad’s main opponents were Mir Hossein Mousavi who was the Prime Minister of Iran for ten years in the 1980s and Mehdi Karroubi who was the speaker of the third and the sixth parliaments. The days of campaigning and the passion and excitement in most cities indicated the high number of votes which the two candidates garnered. Furthermore, most political analysts believe Mousavi was the real victor of the election. It looked like the people who were dissatisfied with Ahmadinejad administration’s policies had hoped to change the president. However, the announced outcome was different; Ahmadinejad’s victory was decisive and there were few votes for Mousavi and Karroubi. Mousavi and Karroubi did not accept the results and called it a fraud, but the Guardian Council, the main body to oversee the elections rejected the protests. Some members of the council had backed Ahmadinejad during the campaign, so the impartiality of the council was under question. Three days after Election Day, the largest demonstration in recent years was held against the election results and nearly three million people with green symbols rallied silently. Their main question was: “Where is my vote?”
This is how the Iranian Green Movement was born; a movement that through peaceful demonstrations and tactics demanded a free and fair election. In his Friday Prayer a week after the election, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei clearly stated his support for Ahmadinejad and threatened the demonstrators with suppression. It was a threat that materialized the next day and the streets in different Iranian cities witnessed the security forces’ crackdown on the people. These demonstrations went on for months and were led by Mousavi and Karroubi through their written statements. In the end, the government managed to control the protests by imprisoning thousands and killing approximately a hundred people.
A year later the “Arab Spring” started. People rebelled against dictatorial governments in Tunisia and Egypt and many believed they had been inspired by the Iranian Green Movement. When the President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was deposed, in a joint statement, Mousavi and Karroubi asked the ministry of interior for permission to hold a demonstration in solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia. The letter partly read: “We would like to ask for permission to hold a demonstration in solidarity with the movements of the people in Egypt and Tunisia against their oppressive governments. We would like permission to invite the people to rally in accordance to the 27th article of the constitution in support of the uprising of two Muslim populations on Monday February 14th, at 3 p.m. from Imam Hossein square to Azadi Square.” (1)
Although no response was given to the request, many people took to the streets. This movement showed that although it has not had a public display for a while, the Green Movement is like a fire under the ashes, waiting for a spark. The government authorities, who had been taken aback, took desperate measures. The MPs chanted “down with Mousavi and Karroubi” in the parliament. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a Guardian Council member and Imam of the Tehran Friday Prayer, asked for the house arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi. He stated during his Friday Prayer: “What the judiciary can do – and I believe they are thinking about doing this – is to totally cut all their connections with the people. The doors of their homes should be shut, entering and exiting their homes should be limited. They should not be able to send or receive messages and their phones and internet access should be disconnected. They should be imprisoned in their own homes.” (2)
By early February 2012, what Ayatollah Jannati had said was done. Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, Karroubi and his wife, Fatemeh Karroubi were put under house arrest. Their contact with society was shut down and only their children were allowed to visit them on special occasions. Eventually, Fatemeh Karroubi was released from house arrest for a while but Karroubi was forced to stay under house arrest alone.
House arrest; a tool for dictators
It might be difficult for dictatorial governments to arrest and try political opposition leaders as they do to others. The political leaders of the opposition to dictators usually have a considerable amount of credit among the people and on the international level and that is what makes it difficult for the dictators to arrest and try them before a court. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy seeking leader and Peace Nobelist, is the most famous person to spend a long time under house arrest. Prior to this in Iran as well, Ayatollah Montazeri, a religious leader who opposed the government, spent part of his life under house arrest. He was supposed to become the successor to Ayatollah Khomeini as the Supreme Leader but he lost his standing in the regime following his protest about a number of actions by the regime, including the 1988 mass executions of political opposition activists. For years after that, he held his place as a religious leader among the people but in 1997 when he clearly criticized the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, his home was attacked by government forces. Upon a verdict from the Special Court of the Clergy, the entrance to his home was welded shut and only the entrance door to the inner part of his home was left open, and even that was controlled by the IRGC forces who controlled it from a kiosk that was installed there. He did not meet anyone except for his children, grandchildren and siblings for five years. (3)
800 day arrest
It is almost 800 days since the beginning of Mousavi, Karroubi and Rahnavard’s house arrest. No trial has been held to produce a verdict or prosecute any charges. The arrest is ongoing without a warrant from a court. This is an instance of “arbitrary arrest” and a violation of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads: “No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”.
Numerous Iranian and foreign groups have protested the house arrests since their beginning. On BBC Persia, Shirin Ebadi, the human rights attorney and Peace Nobelist, commented on the news of Mousavi and Karroubi’s house arrest: “They have arrested them without due legal process, and sent them to an unknown location which we believe to be Heshmatieh prison. They have been in prison since February 14th. In the beginning, they were detained in their own homes and now are in an undisclosed location and this is an instance of arbitrary arrest.” (4) A while later, it was determined that these leaders had been detained in houses. The White House spokesman mentioned the difference in the Iranian government’s position on the democratic movements and domestic protests in Arab countries and called the actions of Iranian government “hypocritical.” He stated: “It is clear that we consider the arrest of opposition leaders unacceptable and we call for good treatment with them and their release”. (4)
Ayatollah Sanei, a religious leader based in Qom, also released a statement about this issue that partly read: “It is sad and surprising that some people believe that the protests by the political opposition is baseless and a lie; but even with having all the media and advertising power, they have not yet been able to hold a fair public trial where the opposition can defend their ideas and let society judge and see who is right.” (5) The council of National-Religious (another opposition group) activists’ statement also read: “The arrest and detention of these gentlemen is against the 22nd article of the constitution that points out the safety of people’s life, property and home from attacks. Article 33 mentions the ban of forcing people to stay in some location without a legal warrant, article 36 stresses that the punishment must be determined by fair trial, article 37 states one is innocent unless proven guilty and article 39 protects the honor of people.” (6) Lastly, in a statement Shirin Ebadi and six human rights organizations; Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, International Federation for Human Rights, the Committee for Defense of Human Rights in Iran asked the Iranian authorities to end the “arbitrary” house arrest of Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi as well as the harassment and detention of their children immediately. (7)
These days as we approach the eleventh presidential election, half of the candidates from the previous election are under house arrest. The Islamic Republic authorities claim that the election in Iran is one of the most free in the world. But can we really believe that claim?
Two years ago today, the Iranian regime put former presidential candidates and opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and his wife, women’s rights activist Zahra Rahnavard, under house arrest without being formally charged for any crimes, and their situation remains unchanged. We join the international community in condemning their continued imprisonment and the harassment of their family members, and in calling for their immediate release. We further call on Iranian officials to conduct fair and transparent presidential elections in June that conform to internationally accepted standards and uphold the rights guaranteed under Iran’s own laws and constitution.
The United States remains deeply troubled by the Iranian regime’s latest campaign of fear and intimidation to extinguish dissent, eliminate freedom of expression, and deny the Iranian people their freedoms at the same time that it fails to hold the worst human rights abusers responsible for their actions. We are equally concerned by the ongoing bans on political parties and the imprisonment of political leaders in the lead up to Iran’s presidential elections in June. Officials have tried to limit open political debate with the detention of more than a dozen journalists and the regime has also tried to silence numerous activists and human rights defenders through arrests and intimidation. We repeat our appeal for the immediate release of these individuals and of all prisoners who are being held for their religious or political beliefs.
Source: U.S. State Department.