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A plea from Yousef Abkharabat’s spouse

Urgent Action needed: Imprisoned Iranian labour activist, Yousef Abkharabat, is going blind in jail, but authorities deny his request for medical leave!

A plea from Yousef Abkharabat’s spouse

 

Urgent Action needed: Imprisoned Iranian labour activist, Yousef Abkharabat, is going blind in jail, but authorities deny his request for medical leave!

A plea from Yousef Abkharabat’s spouse

 

Who is Yousef Abkharabat

Written by: Shadi Rasouli (Spouse of Yousef Abkharabat)*

Workers and honorable people of Iran and workers’ organizations throughout the world!

Yousef Abkharabat (my husband, a worker activist and a member of the “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations” ) was born in city of Mahabad and from his early years he had to work and study at the same time. Yousef was an employee of Mahabad’s “Cultivation and Industry Corporation.” Since workers’ wages had not been paid for four months and financial problems exerting real pressures on all workers’ families one day a group of workers decided to strike in order to receive their non-paid wages.

The strike was a success and resulted in payment of workers’ wages. But because Yousef had played a central and key role in organizing workers for the strike he was expelled from his job. He then found another job in a flour factory. Yousef’s eyes always had some complications and because his tasks in the flour factory were very strenuous and physically demanding, his eye problems became much worse. He was also working two shifts a day to support his family. His eye trouble got seriously bad and he needed to go to Tehran for an operation on his eyes.

Although financially we weren’t doing well but they agreed to have the operation on his eyes in Tehran and based on doctors’ orders he needed to be permanently monitoring the status of his eyes and periodically go to Tehran for checkups.

But Yousef Abkharabat was arrested in 2012 in city of Karaj, because of his labor activism along with a number of other members of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations”, and was sent to jail. After a while his case went for a trial in Mahabad’s court, and Yousef Abkharabat along with Mohammad Molanaie and Vahed Seyedeh were charged for their membership in “Coordinating Committee…” and condemned to two years imprisonment and he has been in jail for fourteen months now.

Due to a lack of any medical attention for his eyes and since he has not received a single medication or care for his ailing eyes the condition of his eyes have seriously deteriorated and now he could barely see anything and has practically no vision. Although we have repeatedly went to authorities and informed them of his medical needs but he still has not been sent to any hospital or eye care specialist.

We, family members of Yousef and his friends, are seriously concerned about his eyes and declare that prison and judicial authorities are responsible for anything that would happen to him. We have appealed to prison authorities for a medical leave for him but they have always made it clear that his medical leave would be allowed if he cooperated with the authorities….

Workers and honorable people of Iran and workers’ organizations throughout the world!

Such is the predicament of my husband and the father of my five year old daughter. We live in a rental place with no source of income. So far friends and acquaintances have always assisted us and have never left us alone. But as far as Yousef’s eyes are concerned none of us can do anything.

The spokesperson for the judiciary just announced that Mr. Rahimi, the vice-president for the previous President, who has been imprisoned on charges of embezzling several billions, was allowed, after only 15 days of jail time, to have a leave of absence since his wife was sick and his leave of absence can be extended.

After hearing those words it became obvious for me that those who plunder and steal this country’s wealth have a special statue for the authorities. But the workers who defend their rights and simply demand payment of their wages are sent to jail to die from their physical afflictions and not a single authority pays any attention to their physical needs or their families’ financial problems.

When an imprisoned worker asks for a medical leave of absence he is asked to cooperate with the prison authorities!! But A man who has plundered the country’s wealth, and physically has no problems, is simply given a leave of absence because his wife is sick….

For us citizens of Iran who hear from officials day and night that all Iranians are equal in every respect, I have a question to ask: What kind of equality is this?!!

Shadi Rasouli (Spouse of Yousef Abkharabat)

*This is a translation form the original letter in Farsi, which can be found at the link below:

Written by IASWI

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Iaswi newsletter, workers in iran, vol 5, no 1, may 8, 2015

Forum and Discussion- Crisis in the Labour Movement: Is Labour Renewal Possible?