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Imprisoned Iranian teacher, Esmail Abdi, to begin hunger strike as of April 17, 2018

*This spring of 2018 is also the fortieth spring since the revolution, a revolution which promised overcoming dictatorship, establishing democracy, creating transparency and preventing the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a certain class. According to the clergy and some political groups this revolution was supposed to be the messenger of peace, freedom and bring an end to poverty and prejudice. Based on these promises we were to be entitled not only to free utilities services! But also have freedom of thought and expression, the right to a free and fair education, the right to formation of associations and unions, the right to protest and strike, the right to assembly and rally, and equal treatment from the law.

But all such goals remained just as empty slogans and all the wealth and goods of the revolution instead of benefiting the poor ended up in the hands of the affluent and powerful groups. During all these years different groups have utilized the establishments’ propaganda media to promise improvements in daily life, with an instrumentalist approach to people’s beliefs and values. But all they were actually doing all these years was accumulating wealth through pillaging the national treasury and finance, and now because of intra-faction infighting they are beginning to reveal each other’s secrets.

In the past four decades most countries of the world have determined educational development and pedagogy as one of their priorities, but in Iran the Ministry of Education with more than a million teachers and millions of students has always had budget deficits and a shameful history of allocation of resources in favor of the rich and against the poor communities. Majority of school buildings are dilapidated or on the verge of becoming shaky and unsound. Many dangers threaten the lives of teachers and students.

Many retired teachers and active teachers (officially employed, temporary employed, contractually employed, Pre-K, lecturers) just like toiling workers are struggling to stay alive while living below the poverty line. Yet every other day there are news of financial malfeasance and pillaging of Teachers Funds and others. The embezzlement of 13 billion tomans from the teachers’ reserve fund is one of example.

After JCOPA while the officials of Islamic Republic were lecturing from tribunes about commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all International Conventions, some segments of the same officials couldn’t be faithful even to their own laws, to the very own Constitution they had written. Thus, they create a an intimidating atmosphere for the few autonomous associations of workers and teachers. They attack peaceful gatheringd and open up legal cases against activists and leaders, criminalizing their civic activities; charging them with worn out accusations of ‘working against national-security’ all done in sham “courts” lacking any and all competent jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, these days despite the continued monitoring of developments in Iran by human rights’ and international organizations such as Amnesty International, International labour Organization (ILO), Education International (EI), the wave of repression has actually increased and now extended directly to presence of security forces in schools and factories.

Hereby I declare my solidarity with all the teachers and workers of the world, and as a teacher and a Board member of the legally established Trade Association of Teachers in Tehran, with its certification issued from the Ministry of Interior, warn all about the ominous and grim consequences of an instrumental and selective approach to law enforcement by the judiciary.

Some of those in charge are putting pressure on the judicial system and interfering with indictments and sentences, rejecting requests for reconsideration at Supreme Court, and blocking leave of absence for prisoners and acting above the law, which also unfortunately means that they are controlling judges, prosecutors and judicial agents.

In protesting against the massive violations of civil rights of teachers and workers in Iran, and in demanding an open trial and lawful treatment of my case, and entitlement to my leave of absence according to article 520 of the Penal Code, and medical leave of absence (which is now currently illegally blocked), on Tuesday, 17th of April 2018 I shall commence my hunger strike. Any consequence or ramification of this hunger strike is the sole responsibility of the Judiciary.*

Esmail Abdi
Evin Prison, Salon 4 of Ward 4
April 2018 (Farvardin 1397)

Education International
International Labour Organization
Amnesty International

*Translated by IASWI, original text in Farsi:

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