TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady writes to the Iranian Ambassador to demand the President of Iran immediately releases imprisoned Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi and denounces their decision to deny Mr Shahabi the medical leave he is due.
31 August 2017
HE Mr Hamid Baeidinejad
Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince’s Gate
London SW7 1PT
TUC demands the immediate and conditional release of Reza Shahabi
On behalf of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Britain’s national trade union centre, and the 5.6 million members of our affiliated unions, I am calling on your government to demand that President Rouhani immediately and unconditionally release imprisoned Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi. In particular, the TUC denounces your government’s decision to deny Reza Shahabi the medical leave he is due.
After suffering severe forms of torture and ill treatment, Mr Shahabi had been under medical leave of absence. We understand that his request for an extension of his medical leave was rejected by the Prosecutor of Tehran. Mr Shahabi was forced to return to the Rajaee Shahr Prison on Wednesday 9 August 2017, where he was informed that the period he previously spent on medical leave would not count against his sentence and that he would be forced to spend another 968 days in prison as a result. Mr Shahabi has now joined a hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions at Rajaee Shahr prison.
Mr Shahabi’s continued imprisonment clearly contradicts Iran’s international obligations. The detention of trade unionists for reasons connected with their activities in defence of the interests of workers constitutes a serious interference with civil liberties in general and with trade union rights in particular. In June 2017, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) called on the Iranian government to lift the sentence against Mr Shahabi and requested that he should not spend any more time in prison. In addition, the CFA called for an independent investigation into the ill treatment of Reza Shahabi.
We strongly condemn your government’s failure to heed the recommendations of the CFA and to release Mr Shahabi. Furthermore, we are extremely concerned about the health of Reza Shahabi and other imprisoned activists, including Hassan Sadeghi, Saeed Masouri, Reza Akbari Monfared, Amir Ghaziati, Aboulghasem Fouladvand and Jaffar Aghdami.
Therefore, we urge you to convey our demand to President Rouhani to immediately and unconditionally release Reza Shahabi.
We request that you inform us as soon as possible of the steps your government is taking in this regard.