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Send a protest letter to the IRI: Demand the release of detained labour activists-updated June 18, 2013
I (we) are writing to protest the continued persecution of labour activist and the gross violation of workers' rights in Iran. We continue to witness many labour activists brutally persecuted and unjustly imprisoned in Iran:
- Reza Shahabi is the Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Syndicate of workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, which belongs to the Municipality of Tehran and has about seventeen thousand employees. He has been incarcerated since June 2010. The appeal court has confirmed his sentence for four years imprisonment, five year ban on all union activities and 7 million toman penalty. Reza Shahabi's health deteriorated significantly after severe beatings and mistreatment following his arrest. As a result, he underwent cervical spine operation on July 24, 2012. Shahabi was temporarily released on bail on January 7, 2013 after over three weeks of hunger strike in Evin prison that mobilized national and international solidarity and support. He was forced to return to prison on April 15, 2013 despite his need for continued intensive medical care. As a result his health has rapidly been worsening since his return to prison.
- Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi, both members of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organizations, an independent labour organization campaigning for the establishment of independent trade unions in Iran, are currently serving 11- and five-year prison sentences respectively. Mohammad Jarahi is in Tabriz prison, north-west Iran and Zamani is in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj. Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi were all initially arrested in June 2011. Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz later sentenced Shahrokh Zamani to 11 years and Mohammad Jarahi to five years imprisonment after conviction of charges including “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi were both arrested in mid-January 2012 to begin serving their sentences. Shahrokh Zamani, was violently forced to attend a court hearing on May 1, 2013, in which he was condemned on a sham charge of insulting “the leader” (Ali Khamenei, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran). Mohammad Jarahi has been seriously ill with cancer and was transferred to prison shortly after his treatment.
- Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, member of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations, and a Children's Rights advocate has been incarcerated in Evin prison since June 2010. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was initially sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in December 2010 on national security charges. This was overturned by the Supreme Court, and after a retrial he was sentenced to five years in prison after conviction of “gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security”, apparently in connection with his labour activities on behalf of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations. This sentence was upheld on appeal in October 2011. Bahman Ebrahimzadeh, who was given a temporary release in order to care for his 14 year old son who is suffering from cancer, was under heavy pressure to return to prison, while his son is bedridden and needs his father on his side. He was forced to return to Evin prison on June 9, 2013.
Pedram Nasrollahi is a well-known labour activist in Iran's Kurdistan Province and an active member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form workers' Organizations. He has been arrested and prosecuted many times in the past number of years. The General as well as Revolutionary Courts in Sanandaj city originally sentenced Pedram to three years imprisonment in July 2012. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment for "acting against the Islamic Republic by working with one of the opposition parties", which he absolutely denies, and in addition was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for being "a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations", which is not supposed to be a charge at all. After appealing the original sentences, the appeal court reduced his sentence to 19 months. In relation to the latest charges against him in 2012, Pedram Nasrollahi was first arrested on March 8, 2012 for 48 days; he was eventually released on bail of 70 million toman. After his sentences had been reduced by the appeal court to 19 months, he went to the prosecutor's office to further pursue his case, on November 14, 2012, but he got arrested and sent to the prison.
According to the Amnesty International, Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of the Tehran Teachers’ Trade Associations, which is affiliated to Education International, was arrested in September 2009. A teacher for 20 years, he was sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with intent to disturb national security”, both vaguely worded charges. In January 2011, the Appeal Court confirmed Rasoul Bodaghi’s sentence and banned him from taking part in any civil society activities for five years.
Many other labour activists across the country continue to be persecuted and arrested. Many cases go unreported.
I (we) strongly condemn the unjust arrests and sentences against these labour activists. I (we) also denounce ongoing persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all detained labour activists in Iran.