Renewed campaign for release of all imprisoned labour activists in Iran

Labour activists in Iran continue to pay a heavy price for the achievement of their basic rights.  It has always been a policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) to persecute worker activists by intimidations, kidnapping and arrest without charge, or sentencing them to long imprisonment in shambolic and unjust trials. Even while in prison, their basic rights as a human being is being violated. Now the regime is doing its utmost to make this sort of treatment of labour activists to become of the norm. Therefore, there is frequent news of more workers activists being persecuted. Recent incidents confirm this.

 Mr. Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the “Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations” and one of organizers of “The Founding Committee of the Syndicate of Painting and Decorating Workers”, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence at midnight of 8 June 2011, while travelling from Tehran to Tabriz.  26 days later Shahrokh contacted his family and informed them that he is held in solitary confinement. He told them he had been in hunger strike for past 20 days in protest to his arrest. According to latest news he is due to be taken to Branch 4 of Tabriz Islamic Revolutionary Court on 19 July, 2011. According to the latest news, Shahrokh was transferred to Tabriz prison on July 13, 2011. He stopped his hunger strike after it was requested by other prisoners. He is currently in bad condition; he has lost lots of weight. At this time it is still not clear whether he would be tried or be informed of charges against him.

 Mohammad Jarahi, a member of the “Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations”, who worked in a petrochemical complex field of Asalooye before being sacked, was arrested by order from branch 11 of the Tabriz Revolutionary court on 20 June 2011. Prior to this, Mohammad Jarahi had been arrested by the ministry of intelligent agents in 2007 and was sentenced to four months imprisonment, but was released early as result of a protest campaign launched by labour activists in Tabriz.

 In addition, Mr. Seyed Biouk Seyyed Lar, a worker at Saba Train, and well-known labour activist, was arrested in June 2011 and has been detained in Tabriz prison.

 Indeed one must add the names of above mentioned worker activists to a long list of labour activists who are either still in prison or have been released on bail after serving prison sentences:

 Ebrahim Madadi, vice president of the syndicate of Tehran bus workers, has been in prison since 27 December 2008 serving his three and half years prison sentence.

 Reza Shahabi, treasurer of the Syndicate of bus workers of Tehran and suburb, has been in custody in the notorious Evin prison for more than one year. He was arrested on 12 June 2010 without a charge. After almost a year on 25  May 2011 he was tried in a court in Tehran on charges of “propaganda against the Islamic State” and “conspiracy against National Security”  which is a standard sham charge used by the Islamic state judiciary against almost all labour and political activists in Iran.  However, the prosecution is seeking to bring a fresh charge of “enmity against God” against Shahabi, a charge which carries a death sentence in Iran. Shahabi is still being held in Evin prison in a state of uncertainty. According to the latest news, his health has recently deteriorated; he has been suffering from regular nose bleeding. He also suffered from neck pain, severe cramps and skin rash.  Shahabi, similar to all other political prisoners, is denied of access to adequate medical examination and treatments.

 Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a worker activist, a member of the “Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations” who also was a campaigner against child labour, was arrested on 12 June 2010 while boarding a bus. Initially he was tried in a Tehran court, charged with “Acting Against National Security” and “ disturbing Public opinion” and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.  Following protests by his family and lawyer he was tried again in branch 28 of Tehran revolutionary Court on 12 June 2011 and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

 Mansour Osanloo, president of the board of directors of Syndicate of bus workers of Tehran and suburb was released on bail on June 2, 2011, after more than four years of unjust imprisonment.  His imprisonment was protested world wild through sustained campaigns by trade unionists and human right organisations.  Throughout his time in prison, Osanloo was suffering from a heart condition and eye problem. Prior to his recent release, Osanloo had spent almost 7 month in prison lasting from December 2005 to July 2006. According to the latest report from Iran, Mansour Osanloo’s release is considered provisional by the authorities and thus he is under onerous bail conditions and faces many restrictions.

 In addition to imprisonment, many labour activists have been sacked from their workplaces as means to undermine workers’ positions. For instance, all members of the executive board of “syndicate of workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company” have been sacked. Also many members of Tehran bus workers’ syndicate have been sacked.

 By imprisoning and sacking labour activists and leaders of independent labour organisations, the IRI aims to spread fear and intimidation among workers, to suppress functioning of already existing autonomous labour organisations and to prevent new ones being set up. This policy is ruthlessly pursued while the regime is implementing a neoliberal policy of cutting state subsidies to basic consumer goods such as bread, rice, fuel, water, gas, electricity. As result of these cut backs, cost of living has increased substantially in recent months, sending ever increasing numbers of families below the poverty line. 

 International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran once again utterly condemns arrest and imprisonment of labour activists in Iran. We vow to strengthen our campaigns for freedom of all imprisoned workers and political prisoners in Iran. We call on workers’ organisations and trade unions internationally as well as human rights’ organisations and all progressive parties to condemn violation of the most basic rights of workers in Iran.  We specifically call on labour organisations in different countries to take initiatives in this regard and organise concrete actions in support of workers in Iran. The action taken by French trade union federations, in collaboration with Swiss trade unions, on June 9, 2011 in Geneva, was a great solidarity step that brought labour activists from Belgium and Italy to Senegal and Egypt together in support of workers’ rights and struggles in Iran. A renewed campaign for immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned workers and to defend workers’ rights in Iran to form their own independent labour organisations is urgently needed.

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

July 15, 2011

 info@workers-iran.org

http://www.workers-iran.org / www.etehadbinalmelali.com

  Nouvelle campagne pour la libération de tous les militants syndicaux emprisonnés en Iran

 Les droits les plus élémentaires des travailleurs en Iran sont bafoués et les militants syndicaux paient un prix élevé pour les obtenir ; La menace, l’intimidation, l’arrestation et les lourdes peines d’emprisonnement font partie intégrante de la politique anti-ouvrière du régime en Iran.

 Pas une semaine ou un mois passe sans qu’un militant travailleur ne soit arrêté en Iran. Les syndicalistes indépendants sont la cible de la répression.

 Concernant les arrestations les plus récentes :

 d’après la campagne de soutien de Shahrokh Zamani ; Le 7 juin 2011, Shahrokh Zamani, alors qu’il partait de Téhéran vers Tabriz, il a été arrêté dans l’autocar, par des agents du ministère des renseignements. Shahrokh Zamani est peintre en bâtiment, syndicaliste et membre fondateur de l’union des peintres  du bâtiment, et membre du comité de suivi pour créations des organisations ouvrières. Shahrokh était en grève de la faim pour protester contre son arrestation. Basé sur les dernières nouvelles, Shahrokh a été transféré à la prison de Tabriz Juillet 13, 2011. Il a arrêté sa grève de la faim après la demande par d’autres prisonniers.

 Mohammad Jarahi ( ouvrier licencié de Assaluyeh) a aussi été arrêté à la fin du mois de juin .Il est membre du comité de suivi des créations des organisations ouvrières.

 En outre, M. Seyed Biouk Seyyed Lar, un ouvrier de Saba Train, et militant ouvrier bien connu, a été arrêté en Juin 2011 emprisonné à la prison de Tabriz.

 Ces arrestations viennent s’ajouter à  la longue liste des syndicalistes et militants travailleurs emprisonnés.

 Ebrahim Madadi, vice président du syndicat des travailleurs de la régie des bus de Téhéran, est en prison depuis 28 décembre 2008 .

 Réza Shahabi trésorier du syndicat des travailleurs de la régie des bus de Téhéran est en prison depuis plus d’un an . Shahabi a été arrêté  le 11 juin 2010 sans aucune charge contre lui. Un an après, au mois de juin 2011, il a été transféré de la prison au tribunal pour assister a son procès. Il a été accusé de Moharebeh ( ennemis de Dieu) qui est une accusation grave passible de la peine de mort.  Il faut noter que Réza Shahabi a de très sérieux problèmes de santé. Il souffre de douleur au cou et des crampes graves et d’un saignement du nez. Shahabi, comme les autres prisonniers politiques, n’a pas accès aux examens et traitement médicaux.

 Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, ouvrier de l’usine poly Co. de Shahre Rey,  syndicaliste et membre du comité de suivi pour créations des organisations ouvrières, a été arrêté 11 juin 2010,  condamné à 20 ans de prison en premier instance ; sa famille, à l’aide de son avocat, a fait appel, il a été rejugé et sa peine est alors réduite à 5 ans. il est actuellement en prison d’Evin.

 Mansour Osanloo, président du syndicat des travailleurs de la  régie des bus de Téhéran,

après 4 ans d’emprisonnement, il a été libéré le 8 juin 2011 sous caution. Durant sa détention Osanloo souffrait de  plusieurs problèmes de santé notamment au cœur et aux yeux.

 Le licenciement est une autre mesure de répression qui est utilisé largement par la République Islamique. Pour donner un exemple : les membres du bureau du syndicat des travailleurs de la canne à sucre d’Haft Tapeh ont été licenciés et quelques-uns parmi eux  ont été emprisonnés.

 Le harcèlement et la persécution auxquels les syndicalistes sont confrontés, ressemblent à une tentative désespérée du gouvernement pour empêcher n’importe quel mouvement en faveur des travailleurs. Et surtout pour empêcher la création des syndicats indépendants.

 Alliance internationale pour le soutien des travailleurs en Iran condamne tous ces actes et mesures de répression à l’encontre des travailleurs et affirme sa solidarité avec la lutte des travailleurs.

 Nous appelons à tous ceux qui sont épris de liberté et de justice, à réagir face à cette situation.

Nous demandons à toutes les organisations des travailleurs et toutes les institutions de défense des droits de l’Homme de faire pression sur les autorités iraniennes.

Nous demandons également à tous les partis et forces progressistes de s’indigner et de condamner les autorités iraniennes pour le non-respect des droits élémentaires des travailleurs.

 Les mesures prises par les syndicats français, en collaboration avec les syndicats suisses, le 9 Juin 2011 à Genève, ont été une étape d’une grande solidarité qui a provoqué la solidarité des militants syndicaux de Belgique et d’Italie, de Sénégal et d’Egypte  pour soutenir des droits des travailleurs et des luttes en Iran.

 Une nouvelle campagne pour la libération immédiate et inconditionnelle de tous les travailleurs emprisonnés et défendre les droits des travailleurs en Iran afin de former leurs propres organisations syndicales indépendantes est une nécessité urgente.

 Vive la solidarité internationale des travailleurs !

Libérez les travailleurs emprisonnés !

Libérez les prisonniers politiques en Iran !

 Alliance internationale pour  le soutien  des travailleurs en Iran

Le 15 juillet 2011

info@workers-iran.org

http://www.workers-iran.org / www.etehadbinalmelali.com

 National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT)

 Below is a part of RMT President’s, Alex Gordon, speech at RMT AGM 2011, in Fort William, in which he addressed the urgency of international solidarity of workers in Britain, in Egypt, in Iran and all over the world.

 RMT is a fighting, democratic trade union – particularly a socialist trade union, by its constitution, history and practice. As Alex Gordon states, RMT “stands in irreconcilable opposition to finance capital’s attacks on democracy. What is a trade union after all? It is the distilled experience of day-to-day democracy practised by working people. In our branches and regional councils week after week we teach and relearn the importance of democratic debate and decision-making and above all of collective responsibility”.

 Please see video link below to Alex Gordon’s speech at the RMT AGM: http://www.rmtv.org.uk/video/video90/index.html

 Trade union rights are human rights: 

 Last year I reminded AGM delegates that while we carry out our debates, our comrades around the world face imprisonment, degrading and inhumane treatment and threats of torture or worse simply for being trade unionists. 

 Since last year we have witnessed inspiring actions by workers fighting for their rights from Wisconsin to Cairo.  One hero of the ‘Arab spring’ is Ali Fattouh, a Cairo bus driver, charged with incitement to strike.  Two days after the Cairo bus strike, President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down as Cairo and other cities came to a halt.  Ali faced a 7-year jail sentence at his trial on 4 June.  Judgement was reserved until yesterday when he was acquitted.

 Haitham Muhammadain, lawyer to the Independent Public Transport Authority Union in Cairo has written to say: “On behalf of the Independent Public Transport Authority Union I’d like to express our thanks to the RMT and other UK trade unions who sent Ali Fattouh messages of support.  This solidarity is very important to us, as although Ali was found not guilty by the court, we know that this case was a clear attack on the leadership of the independent unions.  It is part of a wider campaign through the legislation against strikes and protests and the arrests and harassment of trade unionists, which we are witnessing now.  Yesterday, for example, five colleagues from the Health Technicians Union were arrested and are facing a trial in a military court. We still need your solidarity.” 

 On 2 June this year, after sustained campaigning by transport trade unionists, together with Amnesty International and many international human rights campaigners we welcomed the release from prison of Mansour Osanloo, President of the Executive Committee of the Tehran Bus Workers’ union.  He had been held in prison since 12 July 2007, almost four years. 

 Although Mansour Osanloo has been temporarily released he is under onerous bail conditions and faces many restrictions.  Meanwhile, Osanloo’s fellow Executive Committee members for the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Company, Reza Shahabi (Treasurer) and Ebrahim Madadi (Vice President), remain in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. On 25 May 2011, Reza Shahabi’s trial on charges of “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding against state security” concluded before a branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.  His lawyer has stated that the prosecution is seeking to bring a fresh charge of “enmity against God” against Shahabi, a charge which carries a mandatory death sentence in Iran.  In addition, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a labour activist, has recently been imprisoned and a number of teachers including Hashem Khansar and Rasoul Bodaghi are in prison as well. 

 Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests”, and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which guarantees the “right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice”. 

 Delegates, let us renew our call for freedom and full political and trade union rights for all workers in Britain, in Egypt, in Iran and all over the world. 

 Freedom for Reza Shahabi! 

Freedom for Ebrahim Madadi! 

Free all political prisoners in Iran!

 An announcement about the meeting of

the board of directors of Syndicate of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers

 We hereby publicly announce the holding of the meeting of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Syndicate. This meeting was attended by all members of the Board. The agenda of the meeting were to review the current state of the Syndicate as well as the election of the executive board.

 After discussion about the current status of syndicate and the immediate problems, including the issues related to return to work of the sacked members of board of directors, the meeting began discussion on election of the Executive.

 We need to remind that Reza Rakhshan’s one-year term as the president of the Board of Directors of the Syndicate has ended and the board of directors of the syndicate needed to elect a new president for the Board.

 During the discussions related to the elections, a proposal to change the approach of the board of directors, in order to replace collective work instead of choosing the head of the Board, was submitted.

 The proposed direction, provides an opportunity for the Syndicate’s board of directors to address affairs of the Syndicate more cohesive and unified, and it would create equitable chances of participation and responsibility for all members of the board of directors. This proposal was unanimously approved by the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Syndicate.

 The board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Syndicate thanks the previous heads of the board of directors, Ali Nejati and Reza Rakhshan, and hopes the new arrangement would help us to become more effective and powerful in defense of the interests of workers of Haft Tapeh sugar cane company; and also to act with more strength towards fulfilling our obligations to the Iranian Labour community.

 The Board of Directors of The Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company

Tir 1390 (July 2011)*

 *Translated by IASWI: Original announcement in Farsi:

اطلاعیه درباره برگزاری نشست هیأت مدیره سندیکای کارگران نیشکر هفت تپه

http://www.etehadbinalmelali.com/HTML_11/3_7_11/haftapeh.htm

 Please take a moment to send this protest letter or use your own version:

Sample Protest letter:

 Stop persecution and prosecution of workers in Iran

Free all jailed workers now

 I (we) am (are) writing this to condemn persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran. Labour activists in Iran are being constantly harassed and arrested by the Iranian government authorities. Latest reports from Iran indicate the arrest of the following workers:

 Mr. Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the “Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations” and one of organizers of “The Founding Committee of the Syndicate of Painting and Decorating Workers”, was arrested by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence at midnight of 8 June 2011, while travelling from Tehran to Tabriz.  26 days later Shahrokh contacted his family and informed them that he is held in solitary confinement. He told them he had been in hunger strike for past 20 days in protest to his arrest. According to latest news he is due to be taken to Branch 4 of Tabriz Islamic Revolutionary Court on 19 July, 2011. According to the latest news, Shahrokh was transferred to Tabriz prison on July 13, 2011. He stopped his hunger strike after it was requested by other prisoners. He is currently in bad condition; he has lost lots of weight.

  • Mohammad Jarahi, a member of the “Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organisations”, who worked in a petrochemical complex field of Asalooye before being sacked, was arrested by order from branch 11 of the Tabriz Revolutionary court on 20 June 2011.
  • Mr. Seyed Biouk Seyyed Lar, a worker at Saba Train, and well-known labour activist, was arrested in June 2011 and has been detained in Tabriz prison.
  • Reza Shahabi, treasurer of the Syndicate of bus workers of Tehran and suburb, has been in custody in the notorious Evin prison for more than one year. He was arrested on 12 June 2010 without a charge. After almost a year on 25  May 2011 he was tried in a court in Tehran on charges of “propaganda against the Islamic State” and “conspiracy against National Security”. However, the prosecution is seeking to bring a fresh charge of “enmity against God” against Shahabi, a charge which carries a death sentence in Iran. Shahabi is still being held in Evin prison in a state of uncertainty. According to the latest news, his health has recently deteriorated.
  • Ebrahim Madadi, vice president of the syndicate of Tehran bus workers, has been in prison since 27 December 2008 serving his three and half years prison sentence.
  • Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a member of “The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations”, has been incarcerated in Evin’s division of 350 since June 12, 2010. He has been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by branch 28 of Tehran revolutionary Court on 12 June 2011.  

 In addition to jailing workers, many labour activists have been sacked from their workplaces. For instance, all members of the executive board of “syndicate of workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company” have been fired. Also many members of Tehran bus workers’ syndicate have been sacked.

 I (we) condemn the continuous gross attacks on workers’ rights in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all labour activists and political prisoners and call on the government to respect the right to organize, assemble and freedom of association and expression.  

 Name:

Organization:

Position:

 Send Copy of your Protest Letters to:

info@leader.ir, info@judiciary.ir, dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir; iran@un.int; ijpr@iranjudiciary.org, info@dadiran.ir, office@justice.ir, support@irimlsa.ir; info@humanrights-iran.ir; avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir

CC: info@workers-iran.org

 (In support of the strike action called by NUT, UCU, ATL and PCS members)

Long live International solidarity!

 The Conservative Lib-Dem government has been attacking public services since they came into power. They aim to cut services from workers, teachers, nurses and other public sectors and save the bankers and bosses. This government announced war against the working class and we must get together to fight back and defeat them.

 NUT, UCU, ATL and PCS members voted to fight back against government pension scheme reforms. The government attack is against all workers’ rights in UK. All the Trade Unions members must fight back to defeat the Conservative Lib-Dem plans to reform pension schemes.  A general strike by all workers and trade unions is the only way to defend our rights. 

 David Cameron has said to the media that ‘These strikes are wrong’!  That’s because his government wants to attack our lives to support what he calls ‘employees’, in other words, the bankers and bosses.  The government always claims “we are all in this together” and “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the greatest burden” and yet the government ensures that it is ordinary working people who must pay the price for the financial crisis and not the corporations with the broadest shoulders which have caused it.

 The capitalist system worldwide is squeezing the working class in an attempt to recoup their losses from the financial crisis. They are attacking us and we must fight back. The solidarity of workers, teachers and nurses all around the world will make us stronger to fight back for our rights.

 We strongly support the strike action called by NUT, UCU, ATL and PCS members and condemn the Conservative – Lib-Dem’s inhumane decision on public pension scheme reforms.

Solidarity with the Iranian People’s Struggle (SWIPS)

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran-UK

30/06/11

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