It’s been six years since the Iranian government arbitrarily detained three prominent political leaders without formal charges or a trial. Two of them, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, were candidates in the 2009 presidential election. The third is Mr. Mousavi’s wife and women’s rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard.
Following the results of the 2009 election, many peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations brought millions of people into the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. The demonstrations, which came to be known as the Green Movement, were violently suppressed by the government. In February 2011 Karroubi, Mousavi, and Rahnavard were detained and placed under house arrest.
On the sixth anniversary of their arbitrary detention, the United States again called for their immediate release, and for the release of all prisoners of conscience unjustly detained in Iran.
Acting State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a written statement that the continued house arrest of Karroubi, Mousavi and Rahnavard “contradicts Iran’s international obligations, including those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party, to provide minimum fair trial guarantees and not to subject citizens to arbitrary arrest or detention.”
The Iranian government, Mr. Toner said, “should respect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals in Iran consistent with its international obligations, including ensuring the fundamental right of peaceful freedom of expression and the right to participate in civil society and in the political process without fear of arbitrary arrest and detention or denial of fair trials.”