Iran Reports

Who’s Esmail Abdi, the imprisoned Iranian teacher?

Email Abdi photo in classroom

Esmail Abdi (اسماعیل عبدی), also written (Ismail Abdi), was born on July 19, 1974. He is married with 3 children from a very young age to adolescent. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and 21 years of teaching experience. He has been a public school teacher in Islamshahr, Tehran Province, Iran.  Abdi also holds the world chess federation certificate and coaches students at different levels. He has been an active member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association-Tehran since 2006. He was the General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association-Tehran from 2013 to October 2016. With diligence, Esmail Abdi helped to open a number of new association branches in Pakdasht, Robat Karim, Islam Abad, and other branches such as Borojerd, Shahrod, Zarin Dasht were established. As a nominee in the General Assembly of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (Tehran) in October 2016, he received the most votes and got re-elected as a member of the board of directors of the association. 

Mr. Abdi was invited by the Education International (EI) to attend the EI’s 7th World Congress which was going to take place in Ottawa, Canada from July 21 to 26th, 2015. He was travelling to Armenia in order to obtain visa for Canada; however, his passport and other documents were confiscated at the border and he was told that he had to return to Tehran and report to the public prosecutor’s office at Evin prison about his situation including the fact that border agencies had received an order from Tehran according to which he was banned from leaving the country. Mr. Abdi appeared before the prosecutor office in the Evin prison on Saturday, June 27th, 2015 accompanied by over 70 teachers. However, he was arrested and incarcerated while his colleagues were waiting for him outside the prison.

Arrest Records:

·         One day arrest on March 14, 2007 in front of the Ministry of Education for a protest rally

·         One day arrest on September 17, 2007 by the agents of the intelligence ministry for participating in the meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Iranian Teachers Trade Associations (CCITTA)

·         2008 –December 31, one day arrest on December 31, 2008 by Security Police in front of Parliament for a meeting between Iranian Teachers Trade Associations and representatives of the minority wing in the parliament.

·         2010 May 19-arrested by Ministry of Intelligence, issuance of conviction by the judge in Branch 1, Islamshahr. Searching his house and confiscating his laptop, computer, diary, and confinement in Evin prison-ward 209. He spent 34 days in solitary confinement and 11 days with general populations. Finally he was released on a bail of 500 Million Toman, Iranian currency.

·         In 2010, Revolutionary Court presided by Judge Pir Abbasi, issued a decree according to the articles 500 and 505 of the constitution and he was given a 10 year suspended sentence.

·         On 27 June, 2015, Abdi was arrested by Sara Allah Camp and spent 40 days in solidary confinement and 10 months in Evin prison Wards 7 and 8.

Esmail Abdi, coinciding with the May Day 2016 and the week of teachers in Iran, along with another imprisoned labour activist, Jafar Azimzadeh, initiated an indefinite hunger strike in Evin Prison.  After 16 days, and following an extensive support from teachers and social and labour activists in Iran and internationally, he was released on bail of 300 Million Tomans. However, on November 9, 2016, Abdi was arrested again at his home. The two stage court of Appeal confirmed the six year prison term against Esmail Abdi and thus he was transferred to Evin prison. He is currently serving his unjust six year prison term in ward 8 of Evin prison. His most recent furlough request has been denied. 

Prepared by International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

December 2016  

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