The Human Rights Defenders Centre has issued a statement declaring that the house arrests of Zahra Rahnavard, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are “illegal.”

The statement, signed by Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, marks three years since the three opposition leaders were put under house arrest. It says that according to the Iranian legal system, any punishment administered without a fair trial is “illegal, while being at the same time inhumane and against religious teachings.”

The statement maintains that the state’s persistence in continuing these house arrests amounts to a blatant insistence on “breaking the law.”

Mehdi Karroubi and MirHosein Mousavi challenged the results of the 2009 presidential election, and their allegations of vote fraud led to widespread demonstrations across the country. The candidates and their wives were consequently put under house arrest in order to cut them off from the public.

The Human Rights Defenders Centre states that these three individuals are not even clear on the charges against them, which make it impossible for them to even mount a defence.

The statement denounces the severe treatment of the opposition leaders and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.