United for Iran: Immediately Release Opposition Figures or Grant them Fair and Public Trials

Feb 24, 20160 comments

To mark the fifth anniversary of the house arrest of opposition figures Mehdi Karroubi, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, United for Iran issued the following statement:

Iran should immediately release former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, and author and women’s rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard from arbitrary house arrest.

“For five years now Iran has stripped opposition leaders’ basic rights in blatant violation of Iran’s national laws and international obligations, and without offering any legal justification,” said United for Iran Director Firuzeh Mahmoudi.

“The fact that in 5 years, Iranian authorities have failed to provide any evidence that these opposition figures have committed an offense is a strong indication that they do not have such evidence and the extrajudicial detention of Karroubi, Mousavi and Rahnavard is due to political considerations.” Mahmoudi added, “Iranian authorities should immediately release these opposition figures as well as hundreds of other Iranians who are currently detained in Iran for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression, assembly, or association.”

Mir Hossein Mousavi, former Prime Minister and Mehdi Karroubi, former Speaker of Iran’s parliament, were presidential candidates in the 2009 election. When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, the announcement set off huge protests in Tehran and other large cities. Authorities violently suppressed these protests, killing dozens and imprisoning hundreds.

In February 2011, the opposition figures called for demonstrations to support the popular “Arab Spring” uprisings across the region. While it is not clear on what date exactly these opposition figures were put under house arrest, their connection to the outside world was completely severed from February 16, 2011.