Iranian opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard remain under house arrest without an arrest warrant, charge or trial.
All three continue to have limited access to family members and no legal representation. Recently, Mehdi Karroubi was allowed to visit his family for only one hour.
On the evening of 7 October, Mehdi Karroubi’s family were celebrating his grand-daughter’s admission to university at his son’s home. Mehdi Karroubi appeared at the house accompanied by six security officials. According to his son, Mehdi Karroubi was granted an hour with the family to celebrate his 74th birthday. His son said that he appeared to have lost weight but was in good spirits, and that Mehdi Karroubi had said that he had been taken to a medical facility for a health check up a few days earlier. During the visit, the security officials accompanying Mehdi Karroubi announced that he would be allowed weekly family visits and that he would be transferred to an apartment in North Tehran. However, when asked about providing him with newspapers and books, the security officials said that this would have to be cleared by their superiors.
Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard have not been seen in public since early February when Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi called for demonstrations in support of the people of Tunisia and Egypt to be held on 14 February 2011. Their whereabouts were initially unknown, but it later emerged that they were being held under house arrest without any arrest warrant. At the end of July, Mehdi Karroubi was transferred to a small apartment controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence.
On or around 31 July, Mehdi Karroubi was transferred to a small apartment controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. In a letter published in September on Mehdi Karroubi’s website Sahamnews, Fatemeh Karroubi stated that her husband had requested to be moved to reduce restrictions placed on other residents of the complex where he lived, but the alternative accommodation his family had found was rejected by the Intelligence Ministry. The family have been trying to find alternative accommodation acceptable to the Ministry, which has imposed stringent conditions, including that the location will not be made public. Mehdi Karroubi’s family, including his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grand-children, were allowed to visit him on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan which fell at the end of August. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard were reportedly allowed to visit their three daughters for the first time since their house arrest. The meeting took place in the house of one of the daughters. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were both unsuccessful candidates in the June 2009 presidential and both protested at the announcement that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election. Until placed under house arrest, they continued to voice opposition to the government and to human rights violations by security forces. Zahra Rahnavard, a former Chancellor of Al-Zahra University in Tehran, and Fatemeh Karroubi, a former Deputy Minister of Social Affairs under former President Khatami, both campaigned on behalf of their husbands in 2009 and have spoken out against attacks on their families and others.
In the lead-up to the demonstrations called for by Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, authorities imposed severe restrictions on freedom of expression, including the right to receive and impart information, by blocking access to phone services, including SMS messages, foreign media and various internet and social media sites. The two leaders were also put under house arrest. On 10 February 2011, police officers surrounded Mehdi Karroubi’s home and his sons said that they each tried to enter the house to see their father, but were stopped from doing so. One of his sons, Ali Karroubi, was arrested and released on bail in mid-March 2011. On 14 February, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife were stopped from leaving their home to join the demonstration in Tehran. Communication links to and from both homes were cut. The authorities arrested journalists and political activists ahead of the demonstration to prevent them from attending. See Iran: Several Arrested Before Iran Protest (Index: MDE 13/020/2011), 18 February 2011, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/020/2011/en.
On 14 February, thousands took to the streets in several cities throughout Iran. The largely peaceful demonstrations were gradually forcibly dispersed and as many as 1500 arrests were reported, along with dozens injured and two demonstrators killed. On 15 February, over 220 parliamentarians signed a statement which was read out in Iran’s parliament calling for Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi to be tried and for the “most severe penalty” to be imposed. At the same time, a group of parliamentarians shouted slogans such as “Death to Mousavi, Karroubi and [former President] Khatami” and “Mousavi and Karroubi should be executed”. On 18 February, Ayatollah Jannati, the Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran called for the two men to be placed under house arrest, saying “The judiciary must cut off all contacts between the leaders of the sedition [Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi] and the people. Their houses’ doors must be blocked, and their phones cut off. Their internet connections must also be cut off so that they will not be able to send or receive any messages. They must be jailed in their own homes.” On 20 February 2011, hundreds, if not thousands, took to the streets in Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, Babol and other cities to commemorate the seventh day of mourning for the two demonstrators killed on 14 February 2011. Hamed Nour Mohammadi, a student, died after being thrown off a bridge in Shiraz. Others were arrested (see UA 31/11 and follow ups). Name: Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard Gender m/f: Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi (both m) Zahra Rahnavard (f)