Iran asked to end 'arbitrary' house arrest of opposition leaders

London, Feb 16 (ANI): Six leading human rights organisations have called for the release from house arrest of Iran's two top opposition leaders, who have been cut off from the outside world for nearly two years without being put on trial. The Iranian Nobel peace prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi, said that for two years now Iranian officials have stripped opposition figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, of their most basic rights without any legal justification or any effective means of remedy. Ebadi's remarks came in a joint appeal signed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, International Federation for Human Rights, League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran, and Reporters Without Borders, the Guardian reports. In mid-February 2011, following calls for street protests in solidarity with the pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Tunisia, Iranian authorities placed Mousavi and Karroubi, along with their wives, Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, under house arrest. Security forces initially blocked access to the houses of each couple in Tehran and did not allow them to leave, or their family members to enter the premises. According to the paper, within a few weeks, the authorities who had surrounded the area entered the residences, ransacking rooms and confiscating documents, limiting the movements of the opposition leaders in an unprecedented fashion. Since then the authorities have released Fatemeh Karroubi from house arrest, but increased the restrictions on the remaining three, the paper said. The Islamic republic has so far refused to put the men on trial and the decision behind the house arrests is believed to have come from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it added. (ANI)

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