08/17/2017, 11.09
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Kharroubi hospitalized: on hunger strike to demand public trial

He would accept the verdict even if he would not expect a "fair trial". His health conditions, worsening since July, deteriorated after a day of fasting from food and water. The Reformist leader has been under house arrest and 24 hour surveillance since 2011 without any formal charges.


Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iranian Reformist opposition leader Mehdi Kharroubi, 79, was taken to the hospital at one am this morning. Since yesterday, the dissident is on hunger strike to defend his case in court after six years of being held under house arrest without formal charges. His health conditions had already worsened at the end of last month.

Kharroubi has been held in his home since February 2011, along with political opponents Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard. The three had challenged the outcome of the 2009 presidential election victory by Ahmadinejad, accused the government of human rights abuses, and supported the peaceful demonstrations of the Green Wave, which were violently put down.

"His health conditions are deteriorating because of the fasting and he has been hospitalized," says Sahamnews, a representative of Kharroubi's family. The reformist leader is in the Shahid Rajei hospital for high blood pressure, and he continues to refrain from eating. The same source reports that at the beginning of this month the dissident was subjected to a heart operation.

His wife Fatemeh Kharroubi reported that his first request was to remove some newly installed security cameras in their home. "This has no precedent before or after the (1979 Islamic) revolution in any house arrest, guards living in the same house as those who are in house arrest and who keep in check all aspects of his life, with bugs and cameras" .

The Reformist leader also claims that "in the event of the continuation of the house arrest" he be brought to trial. Although he does not expect a "fair trial," Kharroubi wants it to be public and promises that he will respect the verdict.

It is not the first time he has demanded to be able to defend himself in court. Last March, Kharroubi's son, Hossein, was arrested on charges of "propaganda against the regime" for publishing a letter from his father to current President Hassan Rouhani asking for a trial.

A reformist parliamentarian, Mostafa Kavekebiean, raised the question of Kharroubi's hunger strike yesterday in parliament, appealing to the ministries of health and security. For years, activists have demanded the release of the three political prisoners promised by Rouhani during the 2013 election campaign. Although the current president has not been able to maintain the cause because of the hard opposition of conservatives, he has been backed by Kharroubi and Mousavi in ​​the elections he won on May 19.

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