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Reza Shahabi has been on a hunger strike since August 9, 2017

Authorities have told Shahabi he must spend another 968 days in prison in addition to one year jail sentence for his previous charges. 
 
An updated sample protest letter is attachedVahed Syndicate protest against antiworker bill Nov 15 2016 Tehran 
 
Reza Shahabi has been on a hunger strike since August 9, 2017. The Iranian government authorities have told Shahabi that they won’t release him even after the end of his current prison term. Reza started his hunger strike immediately after his incarceration on August 9th. 
 
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company issued a statement on August 17, 2017 according to which: Reza Shahabi is on the eve of the ninth day of hunger strike. Reza Shahabi, on Wednesday, 9th of August, reported back to the Rajaee Shahr Prison after he had been told by Tehran Prosecutor that his medical leave had been rejected and that he must spend three additional months in prison or risk the confiscation of his bail collateral. However, after he returned to the prison, the prosecutor’s office stated to Reza Shahabi’s wife on August 12, 2017 that Shahabi would be held in prison until December 22, 2018.
Shahabi’s wife and his colleagues were not able to contact him directly until August 16th. After meeting with him, Shahabi informed his wife that the prison authorities have told him that the whole period he had been on approved medical leave is not accepted (and considered absence) and that he has to stay in prison for another 968 days in addition to one year prison for his last charges. Mr. Shahabi was prosecuted one more time in January of 2015 based on charges of “propagating against the system” – while he was in jail related to the infamous attack of the security forces on Evin prison’s ward 350 on April 17, 2014 – and sentenced to an additional year in prison, and this verdict was upheld in an appeals court (refer the previous statements by IASWI).  At this time, judicial authorities and prison administration are claiming different things, both completely false and unwarranted.
In protest against the illegal and unjust actions of the prison authorities and the Judiciary, Shahabi went on hunger strike immediately after his incarceration on August 9th. His demand is his unconditional release from prison. Unfortunately, as explained previously, due to the lack of access to the phone until the visit on Wednesday, August 16th, his family and the Vahed Syndicate had been unaware of his hunger strike.
Vahed Syndicate has also stated that Reza’s family has announced that he has been transferred the quarantine to the Rajaee Shahr (Originally known as Gohardasht) Prison’s Hall 10, a place where political prisoners are held. Vahed union emphasized that this section lacks any basic facilities, and prisoners do not have access to the fresh air and do not even have an air-conditioning or refrigerator in this extreme heat.  Tehran bus workers’ union also stated that despite the end of his jail sentence, Reza Shahabi is being jailed again in order to exert pressure on the bus company workers to prevent the continuation of their efforts for justice and realization of their legal demands. 
 
Vahed Syndicate has strongly condemned this illegal action on the part of the judicial and intelligence authorities and supports Shahabi’s demand for unconditional freedom (link to the bus workers’ union website http://vahedsyndica.com/archive/2795 )
  
Vahed Syndicate has also called on labour organizations internationally to send open protest letters to the Iranian government and judicial authorities and take any other necessary steps in order to help secure Shahabi’s release. 
 
IASWI will issue more updates regarding Reza Shahabi’s hunger strike. Shahabi has been jailed again while those who have been stealing millions and billions of dollars from the public assets and refuse to pay workers’ wages and entitlements are walking free in Iran. In recent weeks we have seen attacks on Haft Tapeh Sugar cane workers, on teachers and other labour activists. New charges have been laid against other labour activists in recent days including flogging sentences (more on this soon). Strong condemnations and consistent pressure on the Iranian government by the global labour and progressive movements and human rights organizations might be able to create conditions in which Shahabi and other prisoners achieve their demands including unconditional freedom. 
 
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) 
August 17, 2017 
 

Sample Protest letter (updated August 17, 2017):

End Reza Shahabi’s persecution! Reza Shahabi must be immediately and unconditionally released.

I (we) are writing to protest the continued persecution of Reza Shahabi, the executive board member and treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Workers’ Company, who has been incarcerated again as of August 9, 2017. Shahabi has been on a hunger strike since August 9th. According to the prosecutor’s office, stated to Reza Shahabi’s wife, Shahabi has to be in prison until December 22, 2018. At the same time, the prison authorities have told Shahabi that the whole period he had been on approved medical leave is not accepted (and considered absence) and that he has to stay in prison for another 968 days in addition to one year prison for his last charges.

Reza Shahabi was arrested in June 2010 while he was on the job, driving a bus; he was violently assaulted in front of bus riders and incarcerated in Evin prison’s ward 209. After spending nineteen months in solitary confinement he was given six years of prison sentence, banned from any union activities for five years and a financial fine of seven and half million Tomans by branch 15 of the revolutionary court. Due to extensive physical stress and tortures during interrogations, Mr. Shahabi suffered from back and neck dislocation and had to go under surgery twice. After enduring prison for years he had been under medical leave of absence based on coroner’s recommendation. It should be noted that during his long incarceration Mr. Shahabi had to resort to hunger strike, four separate times, in protesting against lack of medical attention to his deteriorating health conditions and the growing numbness of the left side of his body. His last hunger strike, to protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr prison in City of Karaj, lasted fifty-two days. Mr. Shahabi was prosecuted again in January of 2015 based on charges of “propagating against the system” – related to the infamous attack of the security forces on Evin prison’s ward 350 on April 17, 2014 – and sentenced to an additional year in prison, and this verdict was upheld in an appeals court.

I (we) strongly condemn the continued targeting and unjust re-incarceration of Reza Shahabi. I (we) also denounce ongoing persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Reza Shahabi and all other detained labour activists in Iran. The Iranian government is responsible for the health and wellbeing of Reza Shahabi.

Name:

Organization/Position:

PLEASE SEND protest letters to the email 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: https://www.embassypages.com/iran   

· Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian)
Email: [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
info    @humanrights    iran    .ir

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

Tehran Judiciary: [email protected] 

Tehran Bus Company: [email protected] 

Cc or BCC: [email protected];  [email protected];  

Written by IASWI

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