Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company has announced that Reza Shahabi was released on March 13, 2018. Please see below the Vahed Syndicate’s statement.
This is great news. Congratulations to Shahabi, his family, Vahed Syndicate and to the workers’ and progressive movements in Iran and all over the world.
Reza Shahabi, a board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate), and one of the leading activists of the Iranian workers’ movement, 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 million Toman 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 undergo surgery twice. After enduring more than four years he was under medical leave of absence based on coroner’s recommendation. However, Shahabi was re-incarcerated in Rajaee Shahr prison on August 9, 2017.
It should be noted that during his long incarceration, Mr. Shahabi had to resort to hunger strike, five separate times. He also suffered two minor strokes in December 2017. Reza had been transferred to ward 209 of the Evin prison in Tehran from Rajaee Shahr prison in Karaj on January 9, 2018. In February 2018, Reza was given furlough for a few days in order to seek treatment following the worsening of his health but before even starting his treatment plans he was forced to return to prison. He was suddenly and without previous notice was released on March 13, 2018. Although this is not an unconditional freedom, since he is banned from any union, social or political activities for the next two years, we consider his release a major victory for Shahabi, Tehran bus workers’ syndicate, and all organizations and people in Iran and around the world that have been consistently campaigning for his freedom since 2010.
It won’t be possible to list the names of all organizations and individuals who have been instrumental in campaigns for Shahabi’s freedom. All recipients of our emails and messages and all those who have sent protests letters, attended rallies, organized online campaigns and reported on Shahabi’s situation they all have significantly contributed to the fight for his freedom. We all know that the Iranian labour movement is constantly under attack and many workers are currently in prison or being prosecuted; even Shahabi’s freedom is not reliably secure, but we celebrate today and prepare for tomorrow. The struggle continues!
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) – March 13, 2018
Reza Shahabi was released on March 13, 2018
Reza Shahabi, a member of the board of directors of Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was released in the afternoon of Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
According to the verdict of Branch 36 of the Appeals Court, Shahabi was released on the basis of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code which deals with multiplicity of “offenses”.
According to the same ruling, Reza Shahabi will have to pay a fine of about 7 million toman; he is also prohibited from participation in union and social activities for two years.
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company warmly congregates Reza Shahabi and his esteemed family for his freedom after suffering for almost 8 years.
We wholeheartedly thank our members, the Iranian and international labour movements and all concerned individuals and organizations around the world that have supported Reza and our union throughout these hard years. Without international solidarity Reza Shahabi would not have been freed today. We take this opportunity to once again call for the immediate and unconditional freedom of all imprisoned labour and social activists in Iran.
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company
March 13, 2018 (22 Esfand 1396)