IRANIAN opposition preacher Mehdi Karroubi was hospitalised yesterday morning, the day after beginning a dry hunger strike in protest at his house arrest.
Reports said 79-year-old Mr Karroubi, who was already in ill health before he started refusing food and water, was transferred to Tehran’s Heart Hospital after being taken ill.
He began his hunger strike on Wednesday, only consuming his heart medication. His wife Fatemah Karroubi said he wanted a public trial and for security forces to leave his home. Mr Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were put under house arrest in 2011.
Both stood as candidates in the 2009 presidential election that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retain power and both alleged ballot-rigging.
In a statement yesterday, Iran’s banned communist Tudeh Party expressed “grave concern” at Mr Karroubi and Mr Mousavi’s plight. Tudeh said that, since their detention, it had “condemned this inhuman measure taken by the oppressive theocratic regime and called for their immediate release.”
It pointed out that President Hassan Rouhani had failed to deliver on his promise ?ve years ago to free Mr Karroubi.
“The Tudeh Party of Iran in once again condemning the ruling theocratic regime demands the end of the house arrest of Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and [Mr Mousavi’s wife] Zahra Rahnavard as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Iran,” the party said.
It called on “all progressive and freedom-seeking forces around the world to raise their voices of protest against the oppressive policies of the theocratic regime.”