Iran reform leader on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Iran reform leader on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Iran reform leader on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi has decried his six-year house arrest without trial or charge as "unethical and unconstitutional", according to his wife.

His son, Mohammad Hossein, told the reformist Jamaran website that Karroubi had met with Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi on Thursday, and secured promises that convinced him to end the hunger strike.

Mehdi Karroubi led the Iranian Green Movement's protest following Iran's controversial elections in 2009 and was sentenced to house arrest without receiving a public trial.

Opposition supporters took to the streets in Tehran in August 2009 to protest against the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Opposition supporters took to the streets in Tehran in August 2009 to protest against the election of Mahmoud AhmadinejadEPA

Mr Karroubi and Mr Mousavi ran in what became a disputed 2009 election that returned hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and triggered mass protests that were ultimately crushed by the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia.

A reformist MP, Mostafa Kavakebian, raised Karroubi's hunger strike in parliament on Wednesday, calling for action from the health and intelligence ministries.

"Second... in case of continuation of the house arrest, they should arrange a public trial", she said.

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The 79-year-old had started his hunger strike only two weeks after suffering from a heart attack. Two years later, in the wake of the Arab Spring unrest elsewhere in the Arab world, they were placed under house arrest, where they have been held without charges.

Karroubi "does not expect a fair trial" but wants it to be public and would respect the verdict, she added.

"My father told his captors, ..." "Karroubi's life is in danger and the state, which has detained him without trial, is responsible for whatever happens to him while he is in its custody", the Center for Human Rights in Iran executive director Hadi Ghaemi said.

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Speaking to the Saham news website, which is known to be close to the opposition leader, Karroubi's wife, Fatma - also an outspoken government critic - said: "My husband believes this deprivation of his freedom to be illegal, unethical and unconstitutional".

His father had a pacemaker fitted earlier this month and is prescribed heart medication, which he continued to take after starting the hunger strike.

Rouhani, considered a political moderate, won a resounding re-election victory in May, in part by rallying reformists and vowing to win the release of Mousavi and Karroubi.

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