Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was allowed a visit with his family after more than a month and has reportedly told them that he stands by all his former statements as a critic of the government.
The Saham News website reported today that Hossein Karroubi, the leader’s son together with his children and wife and Mehdi Karroubi’s wife, Fatemeh Karroubi, were allowed to visit the opposition leader yesterday at the apartment he was transferred to at the beginning of the month of Ramadan.
Mehdi Karroubi, one of the challengers of the 2009 presidential elections and the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had been under house arrest since last February together with his wife. A month ago he was moved from his home to a small apartment.
Hossein Karroubi reported: “My father was in good health and spirits and all through the visit he spoke of issues as before and insisted on his former political views more than ever.”
In the past few months, pro-government media have published reports contending that Mehdi Karroubi is suffering from ill health and also that he has recanted his political stance.
Some reports had indicated that authorities have isolated Mehdi Karroubi from his wife in order to pressure him into writing a letter of repentance.
The opposition leader has reportedly responded to these reports by saying: “The government and the intelligence forces have become completely familiar with my spirits…. They will not allow themselves to try to guide me to change my stance, let alone raise such topics as writing a letter of repentance.”
The Islamic Republic has a history of getting political prisoners to confess to the charges against them in exchange for their freedom or lesser sentences.
Saham News reports that the security forces have told the family that in the next two weeks, the opposition leader may be transferred to a location where he could get fresh air in a yard every day, adding that his wife may be allowed to join him once more.
The opposition has repeatedly emphasized that the incarceration of Mehdi Karroubi and the other opposition leader, MirHosein Mousavi, is harsher than what regular prisoners deal with in prison, because under house arrest they are even denied fresh air on a daily basis.
Early this week, Fatemeh Karroubi reported that her husband had been transferred to a small apartment, where the authorities forbade her from joining him because they claim there is not enough room.
Mehdi Karroubi, who along with his wife had been under house arrest since last February, had repeatedly urged the government to move him to another location so that his neighbours, who had been forced out of the residential complex, could return to their homes.
Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist candidate in the presidential election of 2009, publicly denied the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory and accused the establishment of vote fraud.
Similar allegations came from MirHosein Mousavi, the other reformist candidate, whom the opposition claims to be the true winner of the presidential election. Their accusations led to months of mass protests, which the government violently crushed.
During the protests, Mehdi Karroubi repeatedly investigated the treatment of political detainees and protesters who were killed by government security forces, which further angered authorities.
In the proceeding months, Mousavi and Karroubi went on to issue statements accusing the government of violating the constitution and the rights of its citizens. They also condemned the interference of the Revolutionary Guards in the country’s politics and economy.
The opposition leaders organized several demonstrations to challenge the government. They were finally put under house arrest after they rallied protesters on February 14 in support of the Arab uprisings in the region.