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Karroubi Back Under House Arrest

Photo released by Mehdi Karroubi's son on twitter, showing him in hospital after cardiac procedure in July 2017.

Detained opposition leader is back under house arrest although he still needs treatment and care at the hospital, Mehdi Karroubi’s family said in a new letter published on Saturday, July 29.

The letter, published by Kaleme, a website close to Iranian Green Movement (IGM), said, “In spite of Karroubi’s family members’ as well as one of his physicians’ emphasis on the necessity of continuing the 79 years old cleric’s heart treatment at the hospital, the representative of Intelligence Ministry arbitrarily ordered his release from the hospital and forced him back to the house where he has been under arrest since February 2011”.

“Karroubi’s heart problem recurred on Friday,” the letter maintained, adding, “The intelligence ministry physician has emphatically asserted that special medical care is needed at Karroubi’s house to advance his treatment. Nevertheless, the request was ignored and on Friday, Karroubi once again suffered from heart problems.”

Meanwhile, the letter has harshly criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, saying, “The government might excuse itself by arguing that, since it has more important priorities to address, it cannot commit itself to respond to people’s fundamental demands, including laying the proper ground for respecting civil rights, releasing the political elite from prison and ending (IGM figureheads’) house arrest, but it still is accountable for the inhumane and illegal behavior of its staff, such as Foroughi who believes he is assigned to gradually kill Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi [ the other IGM’s figurehead]”.

Former reformist parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, March 9, 2008
Former reformist parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, March 9, 2008

An agent named Forughi [no first name given], according to the letter, is apparently Intelligence Ministry’s representative supervising over Karroubi, Mousavi and his wife (Zahra Rahnavard) house arrest.

“Foroughi has never stopped making life more difficult for the detainees and their families,” the letter laments, noting, “Sadly, despite our explicit complaints against him, the [Rouhani’s] government and the Intelligence Minister, in particular, have disregarded our protests.”

“Therefore,” the letter warns, “We are left with no choice other than explicitly declare that alongside the “ruler” [ayatollah Khamenei] and his paralyzed justice system, the president and minister of Intelligence are also directly responsible for the life of those under house arrest”.

Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi were presidential candidates who ran against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 presidential elections, which ended in an unprecedented upheaval (later called as Iran Green Movement or IGM), costing the lives of dozens of protesters and the imprisonment of hundreds.

Ahmadinejad was officially declared the winner but Mousavi and Karroubi protested and labelled the outcome as “engineered and null and void”.

Later, in February 2011, Mehdi Karroubi, Mousavi and his wife, were confined to their houses after they called for street demonstrations in solidarity with “Arab Spring” or pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia.

Although it is not yet clear who has exactly ordered the house arrests but many believe that the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei is personally responsible for the decision.