Iran's opposition leader transferred to his home
AFP, Sunday 2 Feb 2014

Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi, detained for three years at a safe house for orchestrating anti-government protests, has been moved home but still kept under house arrest, his son said Sunday.

Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and Karroubi have been held incommunicado under separate house arrests since February 2011 for orchestrating massive, unprecedented street protests sparked by a disputed presidential election in 2009.

Karroubi "was transferred to his home last night," his son, Hossein Karroubi told ISNA news agency.

He said that his father has been confined to the second floor of the family house while "security forces are present on the first floor".

"In terms of security, nothing has changed. The location (of his incarceration) only has changed," said Hossein Karroubi.

He said that his father can only watch state television and has no access to the Internet or the telephone.

The fate of Mousavi and Karroubi -- both of whom are reportedly suffering health problems -- has attracted global attention and triggered heated debates at home.

Western powers and UN chief Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly urged Tehran to release them from their house arrests and Iranian reformist politicians have echoes these appeals.

In December influential Iranian lawmaker Ali Motahari, a conservative, said the judiciary should end the house arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi on put them on trial.

"The protracted house arrests without trial lack legal or religious justification," Motahari told parliament in remarks carried by the ISNA news agency.

President Hassan Rouhani, a reputed moderate, pledged after is election victory in June 2013 against hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to work for political and cultural liberalisation in Iran.

But he has stopped short of becoming directly involved in the case of the two opposition figures who hardliners accuse of "treason".

Karroubi and Mousavi had claimed that Ahmadinejad's election to a second presidential term in 2009 was rigged.

But last September nearly a dozen political prisoners, including prominent rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, were freed from jail as part of a charm offensive by Rouhani.

"We should not have high expectations, because security improvements will be slow. But we hope that the situation will get better for him (Karroubi) and the others," his son said.