08/14/2019, 08.00
IRAN
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Tehran, thousands sign petition to free Green Wave leaders

The appeal is addressed to current President Rouhani and calls for an end to house arrest for Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard.  The petition has gathered 8700 signatures including politicians, journalists, veterans of the war with Iraq.  Reformist leader: the judiciary and the regime must apologize to the victims of 2009 and put an end to the incarcerations.

 

Tehran (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Iranian citizens have signed an open letter, sent to the current president Hassan Rouhani, calling for freedom for the leaders of the "Green Wave" movement, under house arrest since February 2011 without trial.  They are the two-time president of the Parliament (Majles) Mehdi Karroubi, middle-ranking religious leader, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and wife Zahra Rahnavard.

In the 2009 elections, Mousavi and Karroubi were the main challengers of the outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, exponent of the radical and conservative wing.  The two leaders have contested the official results that sanctioned the victory of the outgoing head of state, giving rise to more than five months of demonstrations then repressed by the government, with the support of the ayatollahs.

Promoted by the members of the so-called "Green Wave", this is the name of the reformist movement borrowed from the symbolic color of the protest, the street demonstrations ended with several dozen deaths and hundreds of arrests.  After the uprising, the authorities then ordered the arrest of the two leaders, along with Zahra Rahnavard and Karroubi's wife, Fatemeh.  Democratic leaders had once again appealed to the population, for a new series of street protests in conjunction with the so-called "Arab Spring" riots of 2011 in Egypt and Tunisia.

The letter's signatories, over 8700, insist that the 2009 elections were the scene of fraud and the Green Wave leaders must be released.  Mohammad Reza Khatami, brother of the former reformist president, who claims that there were over seven million fraudulent votes behind Ahmadinejad's victory is among those asking for their freedom.  "Now the time has come - adds Khatami - for the judiciary and the regime to apologize to all the victims of 2009 and put an end to the incarcerations".

 For years, activists have called for the release of three political prisoners who have suffered health problems during their imprisonment.  Many of those who signed the open letter are political activists, journalists, veterans of the war with Iraq, as well as relatives of the victims.  In the text, current President Rouhani is reminded of the promises made during the 2013 and 2017 election campaigns (until now disregarded) to work with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for their release.  Kharroubi and Mousavi had declared their support for Rouhani also to the second presidential nomination in May 2017.

Rouhani, as president, heads the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic and has the legal power to erase the arrest arrest order.  However, until now he has been reluctant to use the functions and powers that the Constitution assigns to him and obtain the release of the trio.

In the past, Khamenei himself had intervened on the issue, stressing that the restrictive measure against Karroubi, Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard protects "their own security".

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