Monday, February 18, 2013

House Arrest of Iranian Opposition Leaders Reaches Two Year Mark

It has been two years since the Iranian government, supposedly under orders from Ayatollah Khameni, put two of its opposition leaders under a strict house arrest. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have had their every move shadowed by the security forces and are confined to their houses with very little permitted visitors. Both men were originally put under this house arrest with their wives, but since then the wife of Karroubi has been released, which puts more pressure on Mehdi Karroubi as he is forcibly separated from her. They are only allowed to watch state television programs, have their little amount of food supplies brought to them, and are allowed a few books, such as the Qur'an and other poetry books. Their outside contact with anyone is forbidden, except with a small amount of regulated visits from family, once per week. "It's solitary confinement." says one of their sons, "These days he's allowed to visit family members once a week but there was a time we had no contact with him for over four months." (The Guardian)

Both men were put under this house arrest in February of 2011 following street protests and pro-democracy movements. They were part of groups that alleged Ahmadinejad and his regime had corrupted the counting of ballots in the last election cycle. Both men have not had a fair trial and it seems they will be held indefinitely, or at least until the next election in June of this year is completed. This is all part of the press and opposition crackdown that has been going on in Iran since the last elections and since the quick spread of the Arab Spring. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and 4 other human rights groups have called for the release of these two opposition leaders, but it seems like for the foreseeable future they will remain in this dire predicament. 

                                            Mir Hossein Mousavi after the 2009 elections.

This information was learned in part from the Human Rights groups as well as from their families, who have fled from the country and are living abroad. Earlier in February two of Mousavi's daughter were brought in for questioning and interrogation by the secret police, but released after a few hours.

                                                Mehdi Karroubi during the 2009 campaign.

Dehghan, "Call for Iran to end house arrest of opposition leaders." Guardian. (2013): n.                Web. 18 Feb. 2013. <                            house-arrest-opposition-leaders>

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