Iranian opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi was allowed to meet with his family for an hour, close to eight months after the start of his illegal captivity.
On Saturday morning, Karroubi’s son Mohammad Hosein posted an image on Facebook that showed his parents alongside the rest of the family.
Underneath the picture, a caption said “Last night, on the night of my father’s [75th] birthday, we were celebrating my daughter’s admittance to university in the presence of my mother and brothers at my house. Interestingly, as we were having dinner, the door bell rang and an agent said through the doorphone, ‘We’ve brought Mr Karroubi.’ It was practically unbelievable and we were happy they had brought father without prior notice.”
According to Mohammad Hosein Karroubi, the opposition figure “entered the house accompanied with six security agents.” The caption under the photo said, “My father was in good spirits and had of course become a bit slim which my father said was due to walking more than two-hours [a day] in that apartment.”
“I asked him about his health and he mentioned that a few nights ago they took him to a medical centre for a check-up and an almost complete check-up had been carried out.”
“It’s worth mentioning that the newly appointed security officials in charge of holding my father have promised that my conditions under which he’s held will improve and within the next ten days he will be taken to a house in the Shemiran area [North of Tehran]. They’ve also promised that family members will be allowed to meet with my father once per week,” the Karroubi son added.
“We spoke to the agents about providing newspapers and books for my father, but they said officials [their superiors] have to permit it.”
Mahdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi have spearheaded Iran’s opposition Green Movement since the massive vote fraud during the 2009 presidential race.
In mid-February, the two leaders called for a new round of protests in solidarity with the pro-democracy revolts of the Arab World. Since then, the two reformist figures and their spouses have been held under an illegal house arrest while being denied a fair trial. Their continued captivity and maltreatment is inconsistent not only with human rights provisions but also with Iran’s own constitution.
Prior to his house arrest, Karroubi’s home had been the target of relentless attacks by state-sponsored vigilantes who vandalised his residence in the hope of intimidating and eventually silencing the outspoken reformer.
According to Amnesty International, on or around 31 July 2011 Mahdi Karroubi was transferred to a small apartment controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence. In a letter published on Mahdi Karroubi’s website Sahamnews, Fatemeh Karroubi (wife) states that her husband requested to be moved to reduce restrictions placed on other residents of the complex where he lived, but the alternative accommodation his family had found was rejected by the Intelligence Ministry. She has also said that the behaviour and conduct of husband’s captives has been worse than that of the Shah’s notoriously ruthless National Intelligence and Security Organisation (SAVAK).
Karroubi’s role was pivotal in exposing the widespread human rights violations that occurred in Iranian prisons during the post-election unrest in 2009. The cleric said that protesters arrested during opposition demonstrations had been raped and tortured inside Iran’s prisons. One of these prisons, the Kahrizak detention centre, was closed down after Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had ordered its closure. The move came after Mohsen Rouholamini, the son of a prominent conservative figure was named among prisoners who died in the centre.