Iran- More labour activists in jail!
Updates on recent arrests!
Send protest letters! Any other protest actions and pressures would help!
LabourStart: Act NOW!
Resolution to support Iranian Bus Drivers’ Union leaders
June 21, 2010: According to the report by the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in Iran, family and friends and colleagues of Reza Shahabi and Saeed Torabian have no information about whereabouts of these two representatives of Vahed workers’ syndicate as of this day. Since Saeed Torabian was arrested at his residence and Reza Shahabi arrested at Vahed Company’s headquarter, the regime’s authorities have not given any updates on their situation. In both cases, after intelligence forces had raided the residences of Torabian and Shahabi, they had made threats that these two labour activists would face heavy charges. Despite that, no authorities have accepted responsibility for the arrests of these two labour activists. Even the security department of the Vahed Company has refused to provide any information to the family of Shahabi despite the fact that they had sent Shahabi to the company’s headquarter at the day of his arrest. Not even their lawyer has been able to get any updates from officials.
Nonetheless, there are unconfirmed reports that Torabian and Shahabi have been transferred to section 209 of Evin prison. According to the same report, a file will be opened against both of them by the intelligence section of the Evin Prison.
These arrests have been condemned by many labour and progressive and human rights’ organizations inside Iran and around the world. It’s absolutely crucial to continue pressuring the Iranian government for the immediate release of these labour activists.
Other recent arrests:
- According to the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, Mr. Asad Moloudzadeh, a member of this organization in city of Naghadeh, has been sentenced to five months imprisonment by the branch one of the Oromieh’s Islamic Revolutionary Court allegedly because of his “propagandist activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran through membership in Committee in Defence of Workers’ Rights”. By “Committee in Defence of Workers’ Rights”, they might mean the “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations”. The “Coordinating Committee...” has strongly condemned this sentence against Mr. Moloudzadeh. This sentence can be appealed within 20 days at the provincial appeal court.
- Mr. Behnam Alizadeh, labour activist, and a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Workers’ Organizations, was arrested on June 12, 2010 in Tehran and transferred to Evin prison. According to reports by Mr. Alizadeh’s family he was severely beaten ad left with broken bones. Mr. Alizadeh is a pipe making worker in Shahr-e Ray who was arrested last year at May Day celebration in Laleh Park of Tehran. His case was still open. Also, his father and brother who live in city of Oshnovieh have been arrested twice throughout last ear each time with unjustifiable reasons.
- According to reports from Human Rights Activists in Iran, on June 8, 2010, 50 year old teacher and worker activist Mehdi Farahi Shandiz was arrested and transferred to the deadly Kahrizak prison upon his visit to the Revolutionary Court to retrieve his personal belongings. Last year, his belongings were confiscated after he was arrested on the anniversary of International Worker’s Day (May 1st).
Shandiz complained about the bad behaviour of the presiding judge. Consequently, he was sent to Kahrizak prison by orders of the judge in branch 8 of the Revolutionary Court. Shandiz was accused of deviating from regulations and filing irrelevant complaints.
Family members of Mehdi Shandiz are following up on his case since his arrest, but they have not received a response from any government authority. The family was told that Mehdi Shandiz’s name is not present on any of their prisoner lists.
In the past year, hundreds of detainees have been tortured in Kahrizak prison and at least four people have died as a result of the torture. Despite the announcement of the prison closing, it seems that it has reopened and it operates in secret. Political prisoners are being transferred there for severe torture. Their life is in great danger.
Mehdi Shandiz was arrested several times and transferred to the prison. During his previous arrest, he endured solitary confinement for a long period of time, while under hard physical and mental torture. Shandiz was released previously after nine months of detention.
- Labour rights activist Alireza Akhavan still imprisoned! Mr. Akhavan who was arrested by security forces at 2am on 4 June while he was at his home continue to be in prison. He was taken away after a thorough two-hour search of his house was conducted. No warrant was shown for neither the arrest nor the house inspection. Akhavan has been able to contact his home after his arrest. He is currently being held at war 209 of Evin prison. Alireza Akhavan is a member of the Centre in Defence of Workers’ Rights. The charges against him are still not clear.
Source: Street Journalist
Mr. Pejman Rahimi, a labour activist in city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan Province, was sentenced to one year imprisonment and 40 lashes by Ahwaz Public Court on April 17, 2010 but the verdict was given to him on May 31, 2010. He was charged with disturbing public order. Previously he had also been sentenced to five year jail after being charged with “agitating workers of Haft Tapeh and Ahwas Pipe Mills Company”. In addition, Mr. Rahimi was sentenced to one year imprisonment after participating in a science seminar at Ahwaz University. In total, he has been sentenced to seven year prison.
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
Sample protest letter (Updated June 21, 2010)
Please use all or any part of this sample protest letter
Support campaign for freedom of labour activists!
Free Tehran Bus Workers' Leaders Now!
Free all jailed labour activists now!
I (we) am (are) writing this to demand an immediate freedom of all imprisoned representatives and members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and all other labour activists currently incarcerated in different prisons in Iran.
As of this time, four leaders and elected representatives of Vahed Syndicate are in prison. Mansour Osanloo, Syndicate's president of the board of directors (serving five year jail sentence since 2007, Ebrahim Madadi, Vice-President (serving 3.5 year jail sentence since late 2007); Saeed Torabian, Public Relations director (arrested and detained since June 9, 2010, and Reza Shahabi, Treasurer (arrested on June 12, 2010).
Mr. Osanloo has been subject to harassment and threats of new charges by prison officials. While in prison, Mr. Osanloo has recently been interrogated and accused of relationship with opposition groups as well as insulting leaders of the Islamic Republic. These allegations have been denied by Osanloo.
In addition, there are many other labour activists in prisons and persecuted. Asad Moloudzadeh, Behnam Alizadeh, Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Alireza Akhavan and Pejman Rahimi, all labour activists, have been arrested and charged or jailed for their labour activities in recent weeks.
I (we) demands immediate and unconditional freedom of all these labour activists. I (we) condemn this new round of attack against Tehran bus workers' union and the continuous gross attacks on human and workers’ rights in Iran.
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Iran: Farzad Kamangar executed
to support Iranian Bus Drivers’
Union leaders Mansour Osanlou and Ebrahim Madadi
Adopted by Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587
Whereas: The Tehran Bus Drivers Union (Syndicate of Workers of the United Bus Company of Tehran and Suburbs) has played a pivotal role in helping to revive the Iranian labor movement, by establishing itself as an independent union that stands up for workers rights and the freedom to organize; and
Whereas: the Union has faced severe repression from the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), which is trying to stop this independent initiative of bus drivers to unionize and organize — and in doing so, set an example for other Iranian workers who are fighting for their rights; and
Whereas: as part of the repression, the IRI has jailed the Union’s leaders, in particular Ebrahim Madadi and Mansour Osanlou, who have now spent more than three years in prison as political prisoners, because of their dedicated work on behalf of the Iranian bus drivers union and other workers in Iran; and
Whereas: the imprisonment of Osanlou and Madadi by the government has been condemned by unions and human rights organizations around the world, including the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Amnesty International and the International Trade Union Confederation;
Be it therefore resolved: that Amalgamated Transit Union 587 add its weight to the campaign for an end to the repression of independent labor organizing in Iran, and in particular for the release of Osanlou and Madadi, by writing to the Iranian government and calling for their immediate release; and
Be it finally resolved: that Amalgamated Transit Union 587 send a message of solidarity and copy of the letter calling for Osanlou and Madadi’s release to the Tehran Bus Drivers Union, and in other ways publicize ATU 587’s decision to support the Union in their effort to free Osanlou and Madadi so that they can better move forward in their organizing to improve their conditions, and to strengthen the rights and conditions of all working people in Iran.
Adopted by Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587 in March 2010
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)