Stop Kidnapping Worker Activists !
On behalf of the 176 million members of the International Trade Union Confederation, I write to urge you to stop the continuing arrests, prosecution and ill-treatment of independent trade unionists in Iran. Many are currently serving lengthy prison terms in arduous conditions, have been fired or fined, and indeed some have been forced into exile to avoid persecution.
Most recently, on 30 April, 2014, we understand that the authorities detained Messrs Jafar Azimzadeh and Jamil Mohammadi. On May Day Ms Parvin Mohammadi and Shapour Ehsanirad were arrested. All four are officers of the Free Union of Iranian Workers. Last year, they organised a mass petition protesting the worsening conditions of workers and were among unionists who tried to organise a May 1 demonstration. Ms Parvin Mohammadi and Shapour Ehsanirad were released but the other two remain in ward 209 in Evin prison. A number of other unionists were summoned for interrogations last week and were warned not to go ahead with the May 1 demonstrations this year in a number of cities across the country including Kurdestan Province.
On May Day the authorities had arrested 23 members of the Tehran bus workers' union the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, including Ibrahim Madadi, before they were transferred to the notorious Evin Prison, where they were released a few hours after.
On 2nd May arrests targeted several workers, trade unionists and labour activists as well as their families and associates who were attempting to assemble for a social gathering on the first weekend after 1 May.
Twelve other unionists and labour activists are currently in prison in Iran and many others are facing long-term prison sentences merely for exercising their fundamental right to associate and to organise. On 11 April 2014, we already raised with you our concerns regarding the cases of Mr Shahrokh Zamani and Mr Mohamad Jarahi, the imprisoned founding members of the Painters’ and Decorators' Union; we have yet to receive a reply to that letter.
Free imprisoned workers !
Mr Behnam (Assad) Ebrahimzadeh of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of
Labour Unions (CPELU) and a child rights activist is serving 5 years in prison.
At least three members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations (CCHFWO), Messrs Yousef Ab-Kharabat, Mohammad Molanaei and Vahed Seyedeh are serving prison terms in the Kurdistan province of Iran. Other members of the CCHFWO have been sentenced to prison terms from one to 3.5 years and are appealing their sentences. They include Messrs Vafa Ghaderi, Ghaleb Hosseini Khaled Hosseini, Mohammad Karimi, Jamal Minashiri, Ghassem Mostafapour, Afshin Nadimi and Hadi Tanoumand.
At least five members of the Teachers’ Association of Iran (TAI) are now serving long- term prison sentences, namely Mr Mahmood Bagheri (4.5 years), Mr Rassoul Bodaghi (6 years), Mr Mohammad Davari (6 years) and Mr Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz (3 years). Another member of the TAI, Mr Abdolreza Ghabari, is serving a 15-year sentence after his death sentence for contacts with opposition groups abroad was commuted. Other leading TAI members, Messrs Ali-Akbar Baghani, Mahmoud Beheshti-Langaroudi, and Alireza Hashemi, have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment which they have appealed.
Mr Reza Shahabi, Treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of United Bus Company of Tehran, is serving a 6-year prison sentence while a number of other members of the Syndicate have served prison terms or faced other sentences and persecution. Messrs Shahabi, Jarrahi and Molanaei are in urgent need of medical care, of which they have been consistently deprived.
These trade unionists have been punished merely for exercising their rights enshrined in the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation, namely trying to form independent trade-unions and to promote rights of the working people in Iran. We urge you to release these prisoners immediately and to cease any further persecution of trade unionists in Iran.
International Trade Union Confederation
Bd du Roi Albert II, 5, Bte 1 • B-1210 Bruxelles, Belgique
Tel : +32 (0)2 224 02 11 • Fax : +32 (0) 2 201 58 15 • e-mail : email@example.com • http://www.ituc-csi.orgGeneral/ Secretary