Currently, many worker activists and numerous political prisoners are in jail in Iran. Some of the worker activists in jail include:
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a labour and children’s rights activist, and a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers' Organisations in Iran, who has already served three years of a six-year sentence, while his 14-year old son is under treatment for leukaemia. Despite his son’s continued illness, Ebrahimzadeh was sent back to jail on 26th September following a short leave. The latest news is that on 20th October 2013 his family were refused a visit and his sentence has been extended by another 28 days allegedly for not having reported for return to prison while on leave.
Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and suburbsUnited Bus Company, has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in building the bus workers’ union. He has already served more than three years of a four-year sentence. Shahabi suffers from multiple medical conditions, including a severe back problem. Unfinished treatments have led to a deterioration in Shahabi’s condition; problems in his neck, back and arms and legs are threatening to paralyse him. In a protest letter to the prison authorities, he writes: “I have problems in both my legs, which go numb and are getting weaker, so I can only get up with massage and with the help of my cell mates”. He then asks: “Is this anything but prisoners’ slow death through physical and mental exhaustion”? He says, if anything happens to him, the responsibility lies with the judiciary, the prisons’ organisation and the highest state authorities.
Shahrokh Zamani, a member of Tehran’s Painters Union and the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations in Iran, was arrested in June 2011 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. Zamani has been subjected to severe tortures. He is now being held in the notorious Rajaei Shahr prison. On 7 September 2013 Zamani was transferred from Rajaei Shahr to Tabriz prison to stand trial for “insulting the leader”, as a result of which another six months was added to his sentence.
Pedram Nasrollahi, a member of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations in Iran, is in prison for union activity.
Mohammad Jarahi, a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations in Iran, was arrested in January 2012 and sentenced to 5 years in prison for union activity. Following a recent operation on his thyroid gland, the doctors have advised recuperation outside prison conditions. However, Jarahi has been refused medical leave.
Mohammad Mohammadi, a member of the executive board of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, has been in jail since February 2012.
Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of the governing board of Teachers’ Trade Association, is serving a six-year sentence for union activity.
Abdolreza Ghanbari, a teacher activist, is in prison for taking part in the massive anti-government demonstration in December 2009. Ghanbari was sentenced to death; however, following widespread protests, his sentence was reduced to ten years.
In addition, worker activists Vafa Ghaderi, Khaled Hosseini and Ghader Hosseini in Sanandaj have been sentenced in absentia to 5 months, 12 months and 18 months in prison, respectively, and are in danger of imminent arrest.
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- We express our solidarity with Iranian workers and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all jailed trade unionists and political prisoners in Iran;
- We condemn the Islamic regime of Iran for its persecution of worker activists and political dissidents;
- We call for the abolition of the death penalty, which is deliberate state murder. The death sentences against Zanyar and Loghman Moradi and all those on death row must be dropped immediately;
- We support the struggle of the workers and people of Iran for freedom, the right to organise and strike, and for welfare, equality, justice and a life of dignity;
- We call for the international political isolation of the regime of Iran and its boycott by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and all world bodies.
- We call on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world and all those appalled by the horrific human rights abuse in Iran to support these demands.