Esmail Bakhshi was released on heavy bail
اسماعيل بخشي با قيد وثيقه سنگين آزاد شد!
Esmail Bakhshi was released on a heavy bail of 750,000,000 toman today, Wednesday, October 30, 2019, from the Evin prison in Tehran. He was welcomed by a number of friends and supporters.
#Esmail_Bakhshi is a well-known labour activist in Iran and a representative of the Haft Tapeh sugarcane workers, in Khuzestan Province, southwest of Iran. He was unjustifiably transferred to the Evin prison in Tehran, which made it extremely difficult for his wife, daughter and the rest of his family to visit him regularly.
Esmail’s release is conditional and temporary. He has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and 74 lashes. His charges include “spreading lies”, “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”. He has appealed the unjust sentences against him and awaits an appeals court.
Esmail Bakhshi became one of the key spokespeople of a series of strikes and protests by Haft Tapeh sugarcane workers in the past two years. His leadership in this struggle received public attention across the country because of his articulate and strong opposition to the government’s privatization policies which contributed to more job insecurity, layoffs, unpaid wages, wide corruptions and a lack of accountability towards workers and the future of the company which employs thousands of workers and used to be publicly owned.
The security and intelligence forces attacked the striking workers and arrested Esmail Bakhshi and a number of other representatives of workers in November 2018. These attacks and arrests of workers have since continued. However, Esmail Bakhshi was subjected to a very harsh treatment. After his original arrest in November 2018, Mr. Bakhshi reported being subject to severe beating and torture. Sepideh Gholian, an independent journalist and workers’ rights defender, who was arrested at the same time, also confirmed that she and Bakhshi were tortured after their arrest on November 18, 2018.
Workers and independent labour organizations in Iran, Amnesty International and many trade unions around the world and global labour federations have since been denouncing the mistreatment and torture of Bakhshi, Gholian and other labour activists in Iran.
IASWI warmly congratulates and welcomes the temporary release of Esmail Bakhshi. We strongly condemn the heavy bail and his conditional release and call for his unconditional freedom. The persecution, arrests and repression of labour activists, teachers and independent journalists in Iran must stop. We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all jailed labour activists and political prisoners in Iran. The inhuman flogging sentences must stop in all instances. Internationally recognized Workers’ and human rights including freedom of association, right to organize, freedom of speech and freedom of the press must be respected.
International solidarity works!
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)