By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has appealed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to end the house arrest of two reformist leaders who have been restrained without charge for more than six years.
Khatami on August 20 posted the appeal on his website, urging Khamenei to “resolve” the house arrest of reformist politicians Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi.
The two men have been held under house arrest since 2011 because of their role in mass protests in 2009 against alleged election fraud.
Khatami, who headed a reformist government between 1997 and 2005, has himself been barred from appearing in the media since the protests.
“Only your intervention can allow this issue to be resolved, which is in the interests of the regime and would be a sign of strength,” Khatami wrote in his appeal to Khamenei.
Karubi on August 16 declared a brief hunger strike to support his demand that he be given a trial. But he ended the action the following day after reportedly being assured that intelligence agents would no longer be stationed outside his house.
Iran’s Judiciary on August 20 denied that the agents had been removed.
Khamenei has frequently criticized the 2009 protests as “sedition” and has said that the leaders of the protests must repent before he would consider releasing them.
Karrubi, 79, is reportedly in poor health and has been hospitalized several times in recent weeks. Some analysts have expressed concern that if he dies in custody, new protests could ensue.