Human Rights Commissioner on the house arrest of Iranian opposition leaders Karroubi and Moussavi

12.02.2016 - Press release

On 12 February, Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on the fifth anniversary of the imposition of house arrest on Iranian opposition leaders Karroubi and Moussavi:

The Iranian opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi have, along with Moussavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard, been under house arrest for five years. That is five years too long.

This ongoing arbitrary detention is devoid of any legal basis. Moreover, the matter has not been subject to judicial review to date.

I therefore once again call on Iran to fulfil its obligations under international law and – particularly with a view to the upcoming elections – to finally lift this house arrest as a visible demonstration of the country’s respect for the civil and political rights of all of its citizens.


The two Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi stood in the 2009 election campaign against President Ahmadinejad, the incumbent at that time. After enduring considerable restrictions on their freedom of movement, they were placed under house arrest on 14 February 2011 along with Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard. To date, the Iranian judicial authorities have made no formal charges against them. They remain under house arrest nonetheless.

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