Ayatollah Dastgheib, a dissident Iranian cleric and member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, has issued a statement saying those who put MirHosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard under house arrest are “guilty of committing a crime.”
The Hadis-e sarv website, which is linked to the senior cleric who resides in Shiraz, reported today that Ayatollah Dastgheib has stated that the house arrest of these Iranian opposition leaders is “against the Sharia” (Islamic law).
Ayatollah Dastgheib added that the Iranian National Broadcaster Seda va Sima, which has been airing programs condemning these opposition leaders, “is breaking the law, going against the Sharia and decency. These good people demand to be given a chance to stand trial without fear in the presence of the people of Iran.”
Mousavi, Karroubi and Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February 2011 without any official charges being brought against them in a court of law. Yet the Iranian establishment refers to them as “leaders of sedition.”
The protests that challenged the results of the controversial 2009 election have been referred to by Islamic Republic conservatives as a “seditious” movement, and MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were two candidates that questioned the legitimacy of the vote count and the Ahmadinejad administration that followed it.
In February of 2011, Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, were put under house arrest after Mousavi and Karroubi rallied people to demonstrate in solidarity with the Arab uprisings in the region.
Mehdi Karroubi was also put under house arrest with his wife Fatemeh Karroubi. Fatemeh Karroubi was later released.
In recent weeks, with the approach of the next presidential election in June 2013, some conservative figures once again have been emphasizing the accusations of sedition against the opposition leaders.
On the other hand, influential conservative figures such as Habibollah Asgaroladi have said that Mousavi and Karroubi are not guilty of sedition; they were merely surrounded by the wrong crowd.
The house arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi was accompanied by a serious sidelining of reformists in the Islamic Republic, and the possibility of their return to the political arena in the coming election has become a hot topic in the media.