x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Iranian politician calls for release of political prisoners

Conservative legislator Ali Motahari yesterday called for the release of political prisoners in Iran and questioned the ongoing house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

TEHRAN // Conservative legislator Ali Motahari yesterday called for the release of political prisoners in Iran and questioned the ongoing house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

A vocal critic of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr Motahari broached the topic in a statement read on the floor of conservative-dominated parliament, less than a week before moderate president-elect Hassan Rouhani takes office on August 4.

"There are now political prisoners jailed only for criticising the government," said Mr Motahari, according to his personal website.

"The judiciary chief (Sadeq Larijani) must release them and pay no heed to pressure from security officials," he said without elaborating.

Iran rounded up hundreds of pro-reform opposition figures, including ex-officials, journalists and activists, as well as thousands of people who took to the streets in protest at the disputed re-election of Mr Ahmadinejad in 2009.

Mr Motahari yesterday urged Mr Rouhani to clarify the fate of the two opposition leaders, who have been kept incommunicado under house arrest since February 2011.

"There is hope that the president-elect will resolve this issue as punishing them and depriving them of their civil rights, without a court order, is unacceptable based on logic and sharia" Islamic law, he said.