Urgent call: Reza Shahabi on his 41st day of hunger strike.

001Reza Shahabi is on his 41st day of hunger strike. According to an Urgent Action statement issued by the Amnesty International on September 18, 2017, Shahabi “is experiencing severe headaches and dizziness, drops in his blood pressure, worsening numbness on the left side of his body, burning sensations in his stomach and digestive problems. He is also believed to have lost about 13 kg. He was taken to the prison medical clinic on 31 August but did not receive the specialized medical care that he requires”.002There have been many protest letters and actions inside Iran, led by the bus workers’ union, and internationally by various global labour federations and unions in different countries. Tehran bus workers’ union called on a protest action by bus drivers on September 13, 2017, during which bus drivers, turned their lights on during the day and reduced their speed to a maximum of 20 Km/Hour. Also, on September 5, 2017, despite heavy security presence, a rally and march by workers of the Tehran Bus Company together with students and other labour activists and teachers took place in front of the parliament (Majles) and the surrounding streets demanding Shahabi’s freedom. Security forces treated the protesters harshly during the event. These actions, along with huge social media protests in Iran and abroad, have been extremely helpful but must continue more forcefully. Shahabi has been a target of the Iranian government authorities since 2010. It is time to maximize international pressures on the Islamic Republic of Iran to put an end to years of ongoing harassment and prosecution of Reza Shahabi.

Please continue to send protest letters via email, direct mail as well as twitting to the government authorities. Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. In addition, various urgent and symbolic actions such as taking pictures demanding Shahabi’s freedom and posting on your websites and social media, demonstrations, and pressuring your respective governments and corporations that have collaborations with the Iranian government and businesses would be helpful. Reza Shahabi must be immediately and unconditionally released!

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

September 18, 2017

info@workers-iran.org;

http://www.workers-iran.org;

https://twitter.com/IASWIinfo

 Please use/modify any or all parts of the attached Sample Protest letter (updated September 18, 2017):

 Sample Protest Letter: Reza Shahabi must be immediately and unconditionally released.

I (we) are writing to protest the continued persecution of Reza Shahabi, the executive board member and treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Workers’ Company, who has been incarcerated again as of August 9, 2017. Shahabi has been on a hunger strike since August 9th. Based on confirmed reports, he is experiencing severe headaches and dizziness, drops in his blood pressure, worsening numbness on the left side of his body, burning sensations in his stomach and digestive problems. He is also believed to have lost about 13 kg. He was taken to the prison medical clinic on 31 August but did not receive the specialized medical care that he requires.

According to the prosecutor’s office, stated to Reza Shahabi’s wife, Shahabi has to be in prison until December 22, 2018. At the same time, the prison authorities have told Shahabi that the whole period he had been on approved medical leave is not accepted (and considered absence) and that he has to stay in prison for an extra 968 days.

003Reza Shahabi was arrested in June 2010 while he was on the job, driving a bus; he was violently assaulted in front of bus riders and incarcerated in Evin prison’s ward 209. After spending nineteen months in solitary confinement he was given six years of prison sentence, banned from any union activities for five years and a financial fine of seven and half million Tomans by branch 15 of the revolutionary court. Due to extensive physical stress and tortures during interrogations, Mr. Shahabi suffered from back and neck dislocation and had to go under surgery twice. After enduring prison for years he had been under medical leave of absence based on coroner’s recommendation. It should be noted that during his long incarceration Mr. Shahabi had to resort to hunger strike, four separate times, in protesting against lack of medical attention to his deteriorating health conditions and the growing numbness of the left side of his body. His last hunger strike, to protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr prison in City of Karaj, lasted fifty-two days. Mr. Shahabi was prosecuted again in January of 2015 based on charges of “propagating against the system” – related to the infamous attack of the security forces on Evin prison’s ward 350 on April 17, 2014 – and sentenced to an additional year in prison, and this verdict was upheld in an appeals court.

I (we) strongly condemn the continued targeting and unjust re-incarceration of Reza Shahabi. I (we) also denounce ongoing persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Reza Shahabi and all other detained labour activists in Iran. The Iranian government is responsible for the health and wellbeing of Reza Shahabi.

Name:

Organization/Position:

004PLEASE SEND protest letters to the email addresses below: Please also send them via the Iranian diplomatic representatives accredited to your country, if there is an Iranian diplomatic mission in your country. Although Iranian embassies’ addresses change frequently, please see the link below which might help: https://www.embassypages.com/iran · Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian) Email: info_leader@leader.ir or contact@leader.ir · President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani Email: media@rouhani.ir Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian) · The Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran – High Council of Human Rights info@humanrights-iran.ir; · Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Email: iran@un.int

Tehran Judiciary: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir

Tehran Bus Company: bus@tehran.ir Cc: vsyndica@gmail.com; info@workers-iran.org;

 

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