In an interview with Radio Farda, the son of Mehdi Karrubi, a prominent leader of Iran’s Green Movement has confirmed that consistent with his father's demand, the security forces previously stationed at his house have now left.
Mehdi Karrubi, currently in the hospital for adjustments to his pacemaker, has been under house arrest since February 2011.
Karrubi’s son, Mohammad Taqi, told Radio Farda on August 30 that “the security forces started leaving my father’s house last night with all their equipment and belongings, and he will be soon released from the hospital.”
Karrubi, twice former speaker of the Iranian Parliament, along with former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, have been under house arrest since February 2011 as their families have become increasingly worried over their deteriorating health.
Earlier, Mohammad Taqi Karrubi had said the 80-year-old cleric had stopped eating since the morning of August 16 because he wants to be put on trial rather than remain under house arrest.
Karrubi's wife, Fatemeh, also told the opposition Sahamnews website that her husband, who she said is only taking heart medicine, "does not expect a fair trial" but wants it to be public.
She reiterated that he also demands security officers to leave his house.
Now that the security forces have left Karrubi’s house, his son declared, “The security forces have installed a booth in front of my father’s house in Tehran’s Jamaran neighborhood. However, as my father has not yet returned to his house, the procedure for keeping him under house arrest is not formalized. It is also not clear whether they would grant him permission to host visitors.”
Karrubi was taken to the hospital a day after going on hunger strike. A day later, Mohammad Taqi Karrubi made an unexpected announcement on Twitter that his father had ended the hunger strike. He added that the health minister and a deputy intelligence minister visited his father at the hospital and promised to pull away the security agents.
Nonetheless, two days later, judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei denied the removal of the security forces, maintaining, “Who said the security guards have left his [Karrubi’s] house? That’s a flagrant lie.”
“The persons who provoke such an argument in defense of those who protested against the 2009 presidential election should be prosecuted,” he warned.
The security forces have installed a booth in front of my father’s house in Tehran’s Jamaran neighborhood. However, as my father has not yet returned to his house, the procedure for keeping him under house arrest is not formalized. It is also not clear whether they would grant him permission to host visitors.
Ejei went even further and called Karrubi’s hunger strike a ploy. “These scene settings have no impact on us [the judiciary], and such propaganda might turn against those who believe their move is in his [Karrubi’s] favor,” he cautioned.
In another development on August 30, Tehran Prosecutor-General Abbas Ja’fari Dolatabadi told reporters that the judiciary is ready to prosecute and put on trial the leaders of the sedition.
“Sedition” is a term favored by officials close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to describe protests against the controversial result of the presidential election in 2009.
Karrubi, 80; Mousavi, 75; and Rahnavard, 71, had called the election an “obvious cheat” and “engineered” in favor of their main challenger in the election, incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
“Keeping the leaders of the sedition under house arrest is the decision of the ruling system,” Dolatabadi maintained, adding, “We are prepared to take them to court for trial, whenever a proper situation is acquired.”
He did not elaborate further and shied away from explaining why the judiciary had not been prepared for the trial before.
According to Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), Dolatabadi asserted, “The government, in 2011, decided to keep the leaders of the sedition under house arrest. Therefore, they argue that putting them under house arrest has no legal bases and is totally unacceptable. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) approved the order for the house arrests and the approval reflects the regime’s will. Therefore, the judiciary alongside the Intelligence Ministry is responsible for executing the order and implementing the will of the ruling system.”
On August 29, government spokesman Mohammad Baqir Nobakht reported that the question of house arrests had recently been discussed at SNSC sessions and the next step would be taken after the complete removal of security forces from Karrubi’s house.
Earlier, Khamenei’s adviser to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Yadollah Javani, had cautioned that the opposition leaders, if tried, should prove that the 2009 presidential election was engineered to manifest their innocence.
Many prominent political activists and international human rights organizations have repeatedly called for the release of the trio.
Tehran MP and deputy parliamentary speaker Ali Motahari urged Iranian decision makers to respond to the demands of Karrubi.
“Tomorrow’s too late,” Motahari warned on Instagram.
“Karrubi’s hunger strike is a wake-up call for those who insist on the continuation of house arrests,” Iran’s Labor New Agency (ILNA) cited Motahari as saying. “[His] argument is based on logic. He says, ‘Let the law decide my fate. If I have committed a crime, let a competent court try me; whatever its verdict, I would accept it.’”
Motahari dismissed the arguments made by a number of security and intelligence officials that those under house arrest should repent before being freed.
“Such arguments have no logical basis since Karrubi has insisted he committed no crime and in fact had fallen victim to unjust decisions,” Motahari said. “Furthermore, if he had really committed a serious crime, disregarding the nation’s rights, how could he be forgiven by simply declaring remorse?”
However, the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani had previously implicitly referred to Rouhani and retorted, “Some people have talked about lifting the house arrests, but [one might ask] who are you to lift the house arrests?”
A few Iranian politicians, including majlis deputy speaker, Ali Motahari, have announced that keeping the extrajudicial detention is Khamenei’s decision.
Iran’s constitution grants wide powers to the supreme leader, but according to Article 30, no one can be banished from his place of residence, prevented from residing in the place of his choice, or compelled to reside in a specific locality except in cases provided by the law.