Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of Mehdi Karroubi who is currently under house arrest without charge for contesting the outcome of the 2009 presidential elections, has written an open letter criticizing a conservative politician’s request that Karroubi “repent.”
Habibollah Asgarolladi, a prominent traditional conservative, spoke to reporters on July 18 at the iftar dinner of the Islamic Society of Engineers. Asgarolladi said, “I ask [Mir Hussein] Mousavi and Karroubi, in the month of Ramadan, which is a month for repenting … to fill to the fullest the end of Ramadan with religious and national feelings.” In previous statements, Asgarolladi had said that the 2009 presidential candidates currently under house arrest “are not leaders of the sedition.”
Although these apparently sympathetic statements were perhaps an attempt to create conditions for their release, Fatemeh Karroubi took exception to Asgarolladi’s request for her husband to “repent.”
“I have a special regard for you,” Karroubi wrote, “but it is not permissible for me to be silent against unfounded statements against my spouse, which is both illegal and immoral. In the last four years, the national television, along with other media and websites belonging to the government, without officially recognizing the right of Mousavi and Karroubi to defend themselves, incessantly promoted unfounded and baseless accusations against them.”
Karroubi continued, “And today, closing your eyes to the events in society of the last few years by citing the same worthless and empty propaganda, you want them to ‘repent.’” After refusing to accept the outcome of the 2009 elections, Karroubi and Mousavi were attacked relentlessly in the state and hard-line media. They were accused of working with various foreign governments and labeled “leaders of the sedition,” and any mention of their names in the media was banned.
Some are hopeful that Hassan Rouhani’s administration, based on his campaign slogans, will help break the “security atmosphere” of the country. In addition to Mousavi and Karroubi, many other well known figures and lesser known activists were jailed or exiled after the 2009 crackdown.
Basirat, a website close to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, wrote on July 14 that with the new administration there are “new demands,” adding that “The latest demands from the extremists of the president-elect is the freedom of criminals” who “participated in the sedition of the 2009.” However, it warned that in relation to the “leaders of the sedition” — who have never been charged with a crime — “have committed heavy crimes, and the pursuit of their trials has always been one of the demands of the nation.” The article added that the only reason that the case against them has not been pursued yet is due to expediency.
On Monday, spokesman for the judiciray Mohsen Ejei also shed light on the future of some activists involved in the 2009 protests. He said that “If someone committed a crime, whether outside of the country against Iran, or committed a crime inside the country and then left, we do not forbid them from entering back into the country. But certainly, when they enter back into the country, the accusations will be pursued.”
Ejei continued, “For instance, in the sedition of 2009, which was an oppression against the nation and system of Iran, if someone committed a crime and left the country legally or illegally, we will not forbid them from entering the country, but immediately when they enter the country … we will pursue the charges against them.”