Mousavi, Rahnavard, Karroubi

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran accuses Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei of being directly responsible for the house arrest of Iran’s opposition leaders and calls for him to immediately release them.

Marking nearly one year since MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi were put under house arrest, Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman for the Campaign, said: “Khamenei bears the ultimate responsibility for these house arrests, which indeed are nothing short of a kidnapping.”

He added: “Khamenei is operating above the law of the land, and the intelligence and judicial apparatus are tools of repression in his hands, operating with impunity and without any regard for the law or the constitution.”

The Iranian opposition leaders, who had challenged the outcome of the 2009 presidential election and thus faced two years of persecution and various other intimidation tactics, were finally put under house arrest last February, after they rallied people to march in solidarity with Arab uprisings in the region.

The International Campaign for Human Rights says: “The house arrests are illegal under both Iranian and international law. Iranian law does not contain any provisions authorizing house arrests. Any detentions must be undertaken with proper charges and prosecution in a court of law.”

The Campaign adds that the detainees have been denied all access to the basic rights given to prisoners, such as regular visits, proper health care and access to a lawyer.

No Iranian official has directly accepted responsibility for ordering the house arrests; however, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, in an interview on January 28, 2012, the deputy Speaker of Parliament indicated that Ayatollah Khamenei was the final authority on the house arrests.

While noting the United Nations General Assembly’s expression of concern last November about the “continuing and sustained house arrest of leading opposition figures from the 2009 presidential elections,” the Campaign also reports that calls for the release of the three leaders have been increasing inside Iran as well.

On January 25, 39 political prisoners issued a statement rallying support for the release of the opposition leaders. They wrote: “We call upon all freedom-loving citizens across the globe to create public awareness regarding the upcoming sham and rigged parliamentary elections in February, and to continue to do everything in their power to ensure that the detained leaders of the Green Movement are released in the month of February.”

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, has echoed this concern and urged the international community to press the Islamic Republic government for the release of the opposition leaders.