An Iranian opposition leader and his wife, living under house arrest for almost two years, have been denied contact with their three daughters.
Mirhossein Mousavi ran in the 2009 Iranian presidential election. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, Mousavi led massive street protests that contested the election's results, claiming that they had been rigged. The protests were crushed by security forces.
Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavardstood have lived under house arrest in their home in Tehran since February 2011, after the opposition leader called his supporters to rally in solidarity with the movements in the Arab world.
The couple’s daughters released a statement on Kalame, a website supporting Mousavi, claiming that they have been denied contact with their parents for two months. In their statement, they criticized the house arrest as illegal and demanded the unconditional and immediate release of their parents. The concerned daughters also mentioned that, during their last meeting with their parents, the two were not in a good physical condition. In August 2012, Mousavi, who had served as Iran's prime minister in the 1980s, received treatment for a heart problem.
At the same time as Mousavi and his wife, another key opposition figure, Mehdi Karoubi, who had also been a candidate in the 2009 presidential elections, was detained and held in a location separate from his home. In November 2012, he was rushed to the hospital, after feeling dizzy and losing weight.
The Islamic Republic will hold a new presidential vote in June 2013 and hardline clerical figures have accused opposition forces of plotting protests similar to the ones held in 2009. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the upcoming presidential election in cannot have any legitimacy as long as the two former presidential candidates are not freed.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has issued an opinion, in which it requested the Iranian government to release Mousavi and his wife as well as Karoubi. The WGAD called their detention arbitrary and argued that the Iranian authorities had breached both international human rights law and Iranian laws by holding these individuals without charges or a trial.