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Iran: Urgent Action needed in support of Shahabi & Salehi; Salehi is close to death!

Shahabi and Salehi photos
Mahmoud Salehi @ Reza Shahabi

Strongly condemn the inhumane treatment of imprisoned Iranian labour activists Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi

Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi must be hospitalized immediately

Salehi is close to death! Urgent action and intervention needed!


According to a statement by Mahmoud Salehi Defense Committee on November 11, 2017, the Judiciary and Intelligence forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a joint decision, blocked all attempts by Mahmoud’s family for his medical leave, and on Saturday November 11th, Mahmoud Salehi was transferred back from Khomeini Hospital in Saqez to Saqez prison. This is despite the fact that Mahmoud Salehi is in critical need of treatment in a hospital with full facilities in one of the major cities of the country and in no way he has the ability to endure prison conditions due to life-threatening heart and kidney diseases. During the years of imprisonment and persecution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has destroyed Mahmoud Salehi’s kidneys and is now attempting to stop the heart of this courageous figure of Iran’s labour movement. According to the latest information publically shared by Najibeh Salehzadeh, Mahmoud’s wife and the spokesperson for his Defence Committee, Mahmoud had been transferred to Khomeini Hospital in City of Saqez after he had a heart attack in prison on November 3, 2017. Salehi was transferred to hospital in chains and was kept in chains at the Cardiology Department of Khomeini Hospital in Saqez, Kurdistan Province.  Salehi has only 30% of his heart functioning for pumping after the heart attack.  Even physicians working under the judicial system has warned that Salehi must not go back to prison but the court officials refused to allow continued treatment of Shahabi in hospital despite their full knowledge that Salehi may die in prison.

On the same day, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company announced in a statement that Reza Shahabi was dispatched to the Clinic of Khomeini Hospital in Karaj due to physical complications in the neck, waist and legs on November 11, 2017. Reza Shahabi was transferred to prison after being examined. Shahabi also suffers from kidney infection, frequent urination and digestive problems. He was examined in hospital while in handcuff. This inhumane treatment is carried out while according to the promises of the senior intelligence officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran during shahabi’s hunger strike, he had to be admitted and treated not only in a hospital outside the prison, but all the additional cruel prison sentences were supposed to be withdrawn. His remaining three months sentence, which was imposed on him as an unauthorized furlough, was supposed to finish on November 9, 2017. Shahabi has been told he is being kept in prison arbitrarily because of the prominent role he has played in leadership of Tehran bus workers’ union.

According to the reports, despite the extreme conditions and multiple illnesses, the morale of Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi are quite high and there is no doubt about the determination and endurance of these activists of the Iranian labour movement. Nevertheless, it is the responsibly of all of us to expose and condemn the cruelty of chaining these labor activists on a global scale. The entire regime of the Islamic Republic as a whole is fully responsible and accountable for the health and well-being of Mohammad Salehi and Reza Shahabi.

Mahmoud Salehi, Reza Shahabi, and other activists of the Iranian labour movement and teachers in the prison should be released immediately and unconditionally. Sentences against all labour activists and teachers should be lifted and the prosecution and persecution of activists and labour rights defenders must be stopped. A wide, all-round, and incessant support and solidarity can guarantee the freedom of these loved ones and other labour and progressive activists.

As we have been warning for years, the Iranian government is pursuing, among other repressive policies and practices, a strategy of homicidal negligence through a slow and gradual killing of jailed labour activists, – especially progressives, anti-capitalists and socialists, and other political prisoners-, by making them subject to severe torture, medical neglect, extended and repeated imprisonment and gross mistreatments by prison authorities.

We are urging everyone, especially labour, human rights’ and progressive organizations all over the world, to do whatever you can to pressure the Iranian government to free Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi.  As Reza Shahabi emphasized in his message from prison: “the support of workers and defenders of workers’ and human rights in Iran and internationally, will be the only guarantor of my freedom and the freedom of my incarcerated colleagues.”

Free Mahmoud Salehi ad Reza Shahabi Now!

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
November 12, 2017
[email protected];

Sample Protest letter: Free Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi Now! 

We are writing this to protest against the Islamic Republic of Iran ongoing persecution and repression of labour activists across the country. Many labour activists and workers’ rights defenders are being prosecuted and imprisoned across Iran. In particular we are extremely alarmed about the inhumane treatment of prominent labour activists Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi. Their health and well-being is at great risk and your government is fully responsible for that. .

Long-time labour activist, Mahmoud Salehi, who has been in and out of jail for the past thirty years, was re-imprisoned on October 28th, 2017. On November 3, 3017, Salehi suffered a heart attack and was taken to the hospital from the prison; however, he was shockingly transferred back to prison on November 11, 2017 despite the fact that his heart has only 30% of functioning. Salehi has lost both of his kidneys during his past imprisonment periods and must do kidney dialysis in the hospital twice a week. The life of Mahmoud Salehi will be in grave danger in prison.

Reza Shahabi, an executive board member of Tehran bus workers’ Syndicate (Vahed Syndicate), has been in and out of prison since 2010. He was re-imprisoned on August 9, 2017. Reza Shahabi has serious health issues as a result of years of mistreatment and torture during his interrogations. His last hunger strike in prison took 50 days.  Reza Shahabi must be taken to a civil hospital with full facility for proper specialized treatment and freed unconditionally as all his prison sentences have been finished.

We call on your government to put an end to arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran. We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Mahmoud Salehi, Reza Shahabi and all other jailed labour activists and political prisoners in Iran.

PLEASE SEND protest letters to the electronic addresses below: Please also send them via the Iranian diplomatic representatives accredited to your country, if there is an Iranian diplomatic mission in your country. Although Iranian embassies’ addresses change frequently, please see the link below which might help:

· Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian)
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

· President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)

· The Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran – High Council of Human Rights
[email protected];

· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Email: [email protected]

Cc: [email protected];

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
November 12, 2017
[email protected];

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