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Release Iran's Opposition Leaders


Mehdi Karroubi, Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Mousavi

Three years have passed since Iranian authorities placed opposition figures under house arrest.

Three years have passed since Iranian authorities placed under house arrest three prominent opposition figures -- former candidates in the disputed 2009 presidential election Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mr. Mousavi’s wife, women’s rights activist Zahra Rahnavard. The three, who were leading supporters of the post-election, pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran which became known as the Green Movement, were arrested on February 14, 2011, after calling on Iranians to show solidarity with the Arab spring protests taking place in Egypt and Tunisia.


The three have not been charged with any crime and have not been tried. Many governments, human rights monitors, and United Nations bodies, including the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Iran, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and on arbitrary detention have noted the lack of respect for the basic human rights of the detained opposition leaders and have urged that they be released from house arrest.

U.S. Deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement on the third year anniversary of their detention that the United States “join[s] the international community in condemning their continued imprisonment and the harassment of their family members, and in calling for their immediate release.”

“Iran’s constitution, its laws, and its international obligations guarantee its citizens minimum fair trial guarantees and provide that no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention,” said Deputy Spokesperson Harf. “The United States will continue to urge the Iranian Government to respect these obligations, and we renew our call for Iran to release all prisoners of conscience in custody.”

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