A piece by Maryam Namazie that first featured on her blog on 28/12/2012
The regime in Iran has again stepped up its persecution of worker activists – from more arrests to harassment of those already in jail and their families. These activists are in prison purely for their trade union activities. They must be freed immediately and unconditionally.
Reza Shahabi is a leader of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company. He has been in prison for the past two and a half years. Shahabi suffers from a number of ailments, and since last week in protest against denial of proper medical care has begun a hunger strike and is also refusing medicines. There are now serious concerns for his health.
Five members of the workers’ organisation the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Set Up Labour Organisations have been arrested in the city of Bokan in the West of Iran. They are: Jamal Mina Shiri, Ebrahim Mostafa Poor, Ghasem Mostafa Poor, Hadi Tanomand and Mohammad Karimi. Their families, who have been protesting outside the Intelligence Ministry, have been told that the detained activists will remain in prison for another week.
Pedram Nassrollahi, a member of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Set Up Labour Organisations, has had a third court hearing where his 19-month sentence has been confirmed. He has also been moved to solitary confinement and is currently incommunicado.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is a labour and children’s rights activist and a member of the Follow-Up Committee to Set Up Free Labour Organisations. Ebrahimzadeh, who has already served half of a five-year sentence, has been moved to solitary confinement and is currently incommunicado.
According to the Follow-Up Committee to Set Up Free Labour Organisations, the children of jailed labour activist Mohammad Jarahi are being harassed as a way of exerting pressure on their father. Jarahi has already spent 15 months in prison, as part of a five-year sentence.
Ali Nejati, a leader of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Union, and his wife Shahnaz Sogand are constantly being summoned and harassed.
In addition, Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Follow-Up Committee to Set Up Free Labour Organisations, is serving an 11-year sentence; Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of the Teachers Trade Association, is serving a 6-year sentence; Abdolreza Ghanbari, a teacher activist, is on death row for taking part in an anti-government demonstration in December 2009; and numerous political dissidents are in prison for opposing the Islamic regime.
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All jailed trade unionists and political prisoners must be freed immediately and unconditionally! Harassment of workers and their families must stop immediately!
Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
Shahla Daneshfar firstname.lastname@example.org
Bahram Soroush email@example.com
28 December 2012