International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)






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The letter below signed by RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow and Unite the Union General Secretary, Len McCluskey, as well as the Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Peter Bunting has been sent on December 11, 2010 to The Times newspaper in London. It is a statement of support for Reza Shahabi who is on hunger strike since December 4th and other workers presently imprisoned in Iran.

Subject: Urgent appeal for the release of imprisoned trade unionists in Iran


Your dramatic coverage of the case of Ms Sakineh Ashtiani and other flagrant human rights abuses in Iran ('No one is safe from the ruthless regime', December 11) mentions the thousands of Iranians falsely imprisoned and abused for 'thought crimes' in the past year. However, you fail to mention the growing numbers of Iranian workers being incarcerated without charge in some cases for the 'crime' of organising independent trade unions.

Imprisoned trade union leader, Reza Shahabi is the treasurer of the independent and unrecognised Tehran bus workers' trade union, Sherkat-e Vahed. He was arrested on 12 June 2010 and has been on hunger strike since 4 December in protest at his continuing detention. We are calling on the authorities in Iran to release him immediately.

His colleagues Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Morteza Komsari and Ali Akbar Nazari have all been arrested since the beginning of November and we believe they are all prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their peaceful trade union activities.

Mansour Ossanlu, the head of the union and his deputy, Ebrahim Maddadi, are already serving prison sentences. They must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Peter Bunting
Assistant General Secretary,
Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Northern Ireland Committee
4-6 Donegall Street Place
Belfast BT1 2FN,
Northern Ireland
email: [email protected]

Bob Crow
General Secretary,
National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers
Unity House
39 Chalton Street,
London NW1 1JD
email: [email protected]

Len McCluskey
General Secretary,
Unite the Union
128 Theobald's Road
London WC1X 8TN