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IRAN: Opposition website says opposition leader is still under house arrest, retracts claim he was sent to jail

March 9, 2011 |  9:05 am

20090530-205924-pic-204220554_s640x430In the latest twist in the mystery over the whereabouts of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Houssein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and their wives, Mousavi's website Kaleme.com has published a report saying the reformist leader and his wife Zahra Rahnavard are, in fact, under house arrest at their home and have not been jailed, which was previously reported by the site.

"In recent days it has become evident to Kaleme.com that Mrs. Rahnavard and Mr. Mousavi... are under house arrest and so the news of their transfer from their home to a detention centre needs to be corrected and we [apologize] to our readers," said the report.

Kaleme said the couple's continued house arrest is an "unethical and illegal" practice.

"Given the complete cutting off of their communications with the outside world... it does indeed constitute house arrest, something which so far no one in the judiciary has officially acknowledged," said the article.

Mousavi and Karroubi have not been seen in public since they called for public rallies in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions in mid-February. Since then, a flurry of contradicting reports about the reformist leaders and their wives' whereabouts have surfaced.

Opposition websites and family members claimed that the two men and their wives were transferred from house arrest to a jail at one point -- claims sternly denied by Iranian authorities.

The mystery deepened when Mousavi's daughters a few days ago claimed that they had been barred from visiting their parents despite high-ranking Iranian judicial officials saying Mousavi was at home and hadn't been sent to prison.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Karroubi and his wife Fatemeh still appear to be unknown. His website Sahamnews.org reported this week that it had "no new information" about the opposition leader and said it was likely he had been taken into custody. 

"According to strong evidence, we believe he is not at home and that he has been transferred to an unknown location," said the site, adding that it had spoken to one of Karroubi's relatives.

--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Iranian opposition leader Mir Houssein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard campaigning in 2009. Credit: Associated Press

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