Demand the release of detained Iranian labour activists
By Hoshang Targol at Sep 17, 2012
Demand the release of detained labour activists
Sample Protest letter (updated as of September 15, 2012):
I (we) are writing to protest the continued persecution of labour activist and the gross violation of workers' rights in Iran. We continue to witness many labour activists brutally persecuted and unjustly imprisoned in Iran:
- Reza Shahabi, the executive board member and treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Bus Workers' Company, has been incarcerated for more than two years. He has recently been sentenced to 6 year imprisonment and five year ban on all union activities; the appeal court has confirmed his sentence without giving him due process. Shahabi was severely beaten during his interrogation in detention. As a result, he underwent cervical spine operation on July 24, 2012. Medical doctors are recommending operations on his back as well. Contrary to doctors' recommendations, Shahabi was sent back to Ward 350 of Evin prison on August 14, 2012. Since then, his health has been drastically deteriorated.
- Alireza Asgari, labour activist and members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations, was arrested after security forces raided the annual general membership of the Coordinating Committee on June 15, 2012. In total about 60 labour activists were brutally beaten by the security forces and transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. The majority of detainees, after going through serious interrogations, beatings and insults, were released, some on bail; however, Alireza Asgari was held unjustifiably and then sentenced to one year imprisonment. Mr. Asgari is suffering from an array of physical illnesses: an acute intestine complication; problems in lower vertebrae; a heart condition that mostly effects a paralysis of his left hand; an advanced case of Anemia, that at times makes it difficult for him to even stand up, and various skin reactions. The Coordinating Committee asserts that prior to his arrest, Mr. Asgari was in normal health and had no medical conditions. I (we) are seriously concerned that Alireza Asgari was tortured while incarcerated, thus leading to his failing and deteriorating health.
- Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi, both from Tabriz and members of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organizations, a group campaigning for the establishment of independent trade unions in Iran, are currently serving 11- and five-year prison sentences in Tabriz prison, north-west Iran. Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi were all initially arrested in June 2011. Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Tabriz later sentenced Shahrokh Zamani to 11 years and Mohammad Jarahi to five years imprisonment after conviction of charges including “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” and “spreading propaganda against the system”. Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi were both arrested in mid-January 2012 to begin serving their sentences (Source Amnesty International) - Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, member of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations, and a Children's Rights advocate has been incarcerated in Evin prison since June 2010. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was initially sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in December 2010 on national security charges. This was overturned by the Supreme Court, and after a retrial he was sentenced to five years in prison after conviction of “gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security”, apparently in connection with his labour activities on behalf of The Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations. This sentence was upheld on appeal in October 2011 (Sources: Amnesty International and IASWI).
- Ali Nejati has been incarcerated in Dezful's Fajr prison since November 12, 2011. Mr. Nejati, a board member of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers' Syndicate, had already spent six months in jail based on the same bogus charges. While imprisoned, new charges were brought up against him, and although he was cleared of all charges in the preliminary court proceedings, subsequently he was sentenced to spend another year in prison. Mr. Nejati is currently on medical furlough for treatment of his worsening heart problems and a hearth operation but expected to be transferred to prison shortly. Due to his deteriorating health condition he has to follow a certain daily diet, accompanied by medications, plus monthly check up by his physician. In addition, Mrs. Shahnaz Sagvand, Ali Nejati's wife, has been prosecuted by the judiciary system for her interviews about Nejati's situation. She was put on trial in city of Shoush on September 10, 2012 on the charges of "propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign radios (media sources based outside Iran) and spreading lies and disturbing public opinion". However, the only subject she discussed in those interviews was her incarcerated husband’s most dire physical conditions in jail.
I (we) strongly condemn the unjust arrests and sentences against these labour activists.
I (we) also denounce ongoing persecution and arrests of labour activists in Iran.
I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all detained labour activists in Iran.
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