Iran’s Human Rights Defenders Centre says the house arrests of MirHosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard are illegal and neither the Supreme Leader nor the Supreme Council of National Security has the legal authority to impose such a sentence.

The three opposition leaders have been under house arrest since February of 2011 for triggering mass protests with their allegations of vote fraud in the 2009 presidential election. They have never been charged by the judiciary or stood trial.

On the anniversary of their house arrest, the Human Rights Defenders Centre says the house arrest of these individuals is illegal and unconstitutional and they must be released immediately.

The Human Rights Defenders Centre is an Iranian NGO headed by Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace laureate.

In a statement, the centre notes that a number of Islamic Republic officials have said the house arrests have been carried out under orders from the Supreme Leader, even though the leader does not have such authority under the constitution.

The statement adds that other claims about the authority for the house arrests are also invalid, because according to Article 178 of the constitution, this is outside the responsibilities of the Supreme Council of National Security.

The statement goes on to add that Article 56 of the constitution charges the judiciary with protecting the individual and social rights of citizens, but the judiciary claims it has no supervision over the three leaders being held under house arrest; therefore, this is an oversight by the judiciary.

Islamic Republic hardliners accuse these leaders of having seditious objectives and claim any court would give them the death sentence but it is not in the interests of the regime to carry out such a trial or sentence.