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Free Reza Shahabi Now!

 

Reza Shahabi, the Treasurer and Executive Board member of the Syndicate of workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, known as "Vahed Syndicate", has been imprisoned since June 2010. He was brutally attacked and beaten during his arrest and interrogations, and severely suffered both physically and psychologically. He spent 19 months in solitary confinement, and during this time his family was not informed of his situation .He has been sentenced to six years of imprisonment, banned for five years from any trade union activities, and a fine of 7,500,000 Toman, in which is (the equivalent of about US $3000), on the vague charges of “propaganda against the state” and “acting against national security”. As the result of enduring psychological and physical abuses, he now suffers from multiple illnesses, including severe neck and back pain associated with disc herniation, numbness of feet and hands, liver and kidney complications, decaying of his lower vertebrates, heart issues, and etc.

Reza Shahabi underwent cervical spine surgery on July 24, 2012, and he was transferred to Evin person shortly after, without being allowed to be healed from his surgery. He was temporarily released on bail on January 7, 2013, after a three week hunger strike, demanding to receive medical treatments outside of the jail. Once again, despite his needs for further treatments, he was forced to return to jail on April 15, 2013. On October 19, 2013, Reza Shahabi once again was transferred to a hospital due to numbness of his left foot and severe back pain. It was recommended again by his doctors that he had to receive hydrotherapy and physiotherapy in a stress free environment outside of prison and that without appropriate treatment his entire left side could be paralyzed. Nevertheless, the authorities have denied all these recommendations.

There have been inconsistent messages by the prison and judicial authorities regarding Reza’s final release date from prison. According to a previous statement by the Appeal Court, Reza Shahabi had to be released in March 2014 (reducing his sentences to four years), but he has been given a new statement ruling that he would be released in May 2015, if he pays a 7 million toman fine; otherwise, his jail time will be extended to May 2016. Authorities have also been pressuring Reza to keep quite while in prison but he has refused to do that and during this time he has issued numerous statements. In his latest open letter to Tehran Province’s Attorney General (attached), Reza describes what he has gone through in more than four years. He has written the open letter from Rajaie Shahr prison. Reza has gone on hunger strike as of June 1st, 2014 in protest against his sudden/unannounced transfer from Section 3350 of Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajaie Shahr Prison in City of Karaj, where according to various reports including Amnesty International’s latest statement “ political prisoners and convicted criminal offenders, including violent offenders, are frequently held together”. His family has had hard time visiting him and medical and other facilities are even worse than Evin prison. In addition, the interrogator threatened to open a new case against Reza Shahabi on June 1, 2014, after he was exiled to Rajaie Shahr prison.

The authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are fully responsible and accountable for the life and well-being of Reza Shahabi. We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Reza Shahabi.

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
www.workers-iran.org
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June 20, 2014

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