BEIRUT

Middle East

Free political prisoners, urges Iran ex-president

  • In this Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, file photo, Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami attends a ceremony organized by his party in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

TEHRAN: Iran's former President Mohammad Khatami has called for the release of political prisoners and urged an end to house arrest for two leaders who alleged fraud after the 2009 election.

In remarks published by ISNA news agency, Khatami, in office between 1997 and 2005, said such steps would benefit the country.

He was referring to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, reformists held incommunicado since February 2011, after they urged massive street protests following the election.

Thousands of protesters, reformists and journalists were arrested after demonstrations that became known as Iran's green movement.

"The lift on house arrests and the release of all those who are in prison is beneficial for the country, establishment and everyone," Khatami said, referring to the prisoners.

"Although the release has been already delayed for too long, many of them will be free soon providing that no other case is being built against them," Khatami was quoted as saying.

Khatami said a "change" in the country's political atmosphere was among expectations from the administration of self-declared moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who won a first-round electoral victory over conservatives last year.

"Even if they were freed one day earlier, it would be an auspicious matter and in regards with the lift on the house arrest, I hope it happens," Khatami added.

The fate of Mousavi and Karroubi -- both of whom are reportedly suffering health problems -- has attracted global attention and triggered heated debate at home.

Western powers and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly urged Tehran to release them from house arrest, and Iranian reformists have echoed those appeals.

Rouhani promised to resolve the issue and his officials have expressed criticism of the measures imposed on Mousavi and Karroubi.

In December, influential Iranian conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari said the judiciary should end the house arrests and put Mousavi and Karroubi on trial.

However, the decision rests with the Islamic republic's judiciary and the Supreme National Security Council. Judicial officials have in recent months said the restrictions on Mousavi and Karroubi will not be lifted unless they repent.

On Monday, prosecutor general Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie, Iran's intelligence minister between 2005 and 2009, was quoted by official news agency IRNA as saying there was "no change" in the Mousavi and Karroubi cases.

Meanwhile, the opposition website Kaleme.com reported that Karroubi has expressed readiness to stand open trial, so that he could give his account of what he called the "engineering" of the 2009 election which led to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's second term in office.

 
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Iran's former President Mohammad Khatami has called for the release of political prisoners and urged an end to house arrest for two leaders who alleged fraud after the 2009 election.

Khatami said a "change" in the country's political atmosphere was among expectations from the administration of self-declared moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who won a first-round electoral victory over conservatives last year.

In December, influential Iranian conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari said the judiciary should end the house arrests and put Mousavi and Karroubi on trial.

On Monday, prosecutor general Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie, Iran's intelligence minister between 2005 and 2009, was quoted by official news agency IRNA as saying there was "no change" in the Mousavi and Karroubi cases.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here