Friday, 11 July 2014

12 July, international day of action in support of jailed workers in Iran

Call on all worker organisations worldwide
  • Reza Shahabi and Behanm Ebrahimzadeh need urgent support
  • Reza Shahabi is in real danger
  • We need an international campaign to save the lives of jailed Iranian worker activists

The Islamic Republic and Iranian prison authorities will be held accountable for the grievous harm inflicted on the political prisoners in Ward 350. All those responsible for ordering this attack and those who carried it out should be brought to justice.

The injured political prisoners must receive immediate and appropriate medical attention and treatment outside the prison facilities.

All political prisoners who were put in solitary confinement must be returned to Ward 350 immediately.

The families of the political prisoners must be able to meet their loved ones unconditionally.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company (Vahed), has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in forming the bus workers’ union.

In early June  2014 Shahabi began a hunger strike in protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr Prison, instead of being admitted to hospital for urgent medical care and treatment. Now on his 35th day on hunger strike, his condition is critical. The prison authorities and the Islamic regime officials have refused to pay any attention to his legitimate demands.

Shahrokh Zamani, another worker activist in Iran who himself is under constant threat and pressure in Rajaee Shahr prison, has expressed his serious concerns for the life of Reza Shahabi.

Shahabi suffers from multiple medical conditions, including a severe back problem. Unfinished treatments have led to deterioration in Shahabi’s condition; problems in his neck, back and arms and legs are threatening and might paralyse him. In a protest letter to the prison authorities, he writes: “I have problems in both my legs, which go numb and are getting weaker, so I can only get up with massage and with the help of my cell mates”. He then asks: “Is this anything but prisoners’ slow death through physical and mental exhaustion”? He says, if anything happens to him, the responsibility lies with the judiciary, the prisons’ organisation and the highest state authorities.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities. During an assault on political prisoners in Ward 350 of Evin Prison on 17th June this year, he was among the prisoners who were severely beaten up and injured and moved to ward 240 of Evin prison. After massive protests, he was moved back to ward 350 on May Day. On May 3rd, he was moved to ward 209. Ward 209 is the interrogation unit of Evin Prsion in Tehran, run by  the Ministry of Intelligence. Torture and maltreatment are routinely practised as part of the interrogations.

We are concerned for Ebrahimzadeh's wellbeing. Since being moved to Ward 209, he has had only one chance to meet with his family. However, following this visit, on June 27, the police raided Ebrahimzadeh's home and took away his personal documents and his son's computer. They threatened his wife and his 16 year old son, Nima, who is currently under treatment for leukaemia, a fact that has added to Ebrahimzadeh's psychological distress.

Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Labour Organisations in Iran and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration.

We call on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world and all those appalled by the horrific human rights abuse in Iran to support Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and all jailed workers in Iran.

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 shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
Bahram Soroush bahram.soroush@gmail.com
free-them-now.blogspot.co.uk/

4 July 2014

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Iran: jailed labour activist moved to interrogation unit of prison

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, who has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities, has been moved to Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Ward 209 is the interrogation unit of the prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence, where torture and maltreatment is routinely practised as part of the interrogations.

Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Organisations and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration. Also, during a recent assault on political prisoners in Ward 350, he was among the prisoners who were severely beaten up and injured.

It should also be noted that Mr Ebrahimzadeh’s 15-year old son is ill with leukaemia, a fact that has added to his psychological traumas.

Given the fact that Ebrahimzadeh has now been transferred to the interrogation ward of the prison, there are growing concerns for his wellbeing. We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the continued detention of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Monday, 5 May 2014

Continued detention of two union leaders

IRAN - May Day Arrests

Azim Zadeh and Mohammadi moved to the interrogation ward of Evin Prison


The Free Union of Workers in Iran (Ettehadiye Azad e Kargaran e Iran) has reported about the continued detention of the leader and an Executive Committee member of the Union in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi were arrested in the early hours of Wednesday 30 April, ahead of a rally called by the Union for May Day.

According to the Union, the two activists have been moved to the interrogation ward of the Prison, Ward 209, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence. This increases the risk of their subjection to torture and maltreatment, which is the usual practice in this ward during interrogations.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi are among the coordinators for a national pay rise campaign, which has so far attracted 40,000 signatures.

We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the detention of these trade union leaders and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Iran: Two prominent trade union leaders arrested ahead of May Day


The Free Union of Workers in Iran (Ettehadiye Azad e Kargaran e Iran) has reported that two of its Executive Committee members have been arrested.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi were arrested during a raid on their homes in the capital Tehran at 1am this morning.

The police also raided the home of another leader of the Union, Parvin Mohammadi, breaking the door and forcibly entering the house. However, Ms Mohammadi was away from her home at the time, and was not arrested.

Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi are among the coordinators for a national pay rise campaign, which has so far attracted 40,000 signatures.

The arrests and intimidations are the authorities’ usual ploy each year to pre-empt protests and rallies by workers on May Day. This year’s arrests come ahead of a call by the Union for a rally outside the Labour Ministry in Tehran on May Day. The police have refused to authorise the event.

On Tuesday the police summoned five other Executive Committee members of the Free Union of Workers to the Ministry of Intelligence in the city of Sanandaj, questioning them and warning them against participation in May Day rallies. Previously, seven other labour activists, all members of the Co-ordinating Committee to Help Form Free Labour Organisations, were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Sanandaj for questioning.

Earlier this month, anti-riot guards carried out a ferocious attack on political prisoners in Ward 350 of Evin Prison in Tehran, in the course of which many prisoners were injured, some seriously, and forcibly moved to a solitary ward of the Prison.

We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to protest against the detention of trade union leaders Jafar Azim Zadeh and Jamil Mohammadi and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Families of political prisoners stage a protest outside Rouhani’s office

ASSAULT ON POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN - UPDATE

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Today, the families of the political prisoners, who were the subject of a vicious attack by Evin Prison’s Special Guards last Thursday, staged a protest outside the office of the Islamic Republic President, Hassan Rouhani. Since last Thursday’s attack, anxious families of the political prisoners have gathered daily outside Evin Prison, demanding answers and immediate access to their loved ones. In last Thursday’s raid on Ward 350 of the Prison, the prisoners were badly beaten up; many were injured, some seriously.

During today’s protest outside Rouhani’s office, the families were able to send several of their representatives inside the building for talks. However, after their return and as the crowds were starting to leave, the protesters came under attack by the security forces. Several people have been arrested.

Yesterday, some family members were able to briefly visit their imprisoned relatives. This came after a large gathering of around 200 outside the visit hall of the prison. Those who were able to meet with the prisoners, have spoken of injuries and blue marks on the prisoners’ bodies. The mother of one of the prisoners, Akbar Amini, fainted, and had to be taken to hospital, after seeing her son’s injuries to the neck and head. Only one further brief visit was allowed on Monday afternoon.

The latest update on the condition and whereabouts of the prisoners, based on the information available so far, is as follows:

16 prisoners continue to be held in solitary confinement. They are believed to be those with the most severe injuries. Those, with relatively lighter injuries, have been returned to Ward 350. The prisoners in Ward 240 are on hunger strike, and they have been joined by 12 prisoners in Ward 350.

The prisoners in the solitary ward are as follows:

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Mohammad Amin Haadavi, Mohammad Sedigh Kabudvand, Mohammad Davari, Behzad Arab Gol, Gholamreza Khosravi, Abolghasem Fuladvand, Mehran Ahan Khah, Reza Akbari Monfared, Majid Asadi, Saeed Matin Poor, Soheil Babadi, Saeed Haeri, Samku Khalghati, Reza Hamyari and Mohammad Shojaee.

Ebrahimzadeh and Kabudvand are said to be severely injured.

There are also serious concerns for the situation of Shahrokh Zamani, a political prisoner in Gohardasht Prison, who continues to be on hunger strike.

The Iranian government and the prison authorities are accountable for the grievous harm inflicted on the political prisoners in Ward 350. All those responsible for ordering this attack and those who carried it out should be brought to justice.

The injured political prisoners must receive immediate and appropriate medical attention and treatment outside the prison facilities.

All the remaining political prisoners who were moved to the solitary ward must be returned to Ward 350 immediately.

The families of the political prisoners should have free access to their loved ones.

The political prisoners in Ward 350 should be compensated for the financial and personal loss they have incurred as a result of the destruction of their belongings and personal property during the raid.

All political prisoners and jailed workers and trade unionists, who are being held in Iranian jails on fabricated and arbitrary charges, merely for their political opinion or trade union activity, must be released immediately and unconditionally.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

22 April 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

Vicious assault on political prisoners in Iran

Three prisoners are in a critical condition


On Thursday 17th April around one hundred special guards of Evin Prison in Tehran carried out a vicious raid on Ward 350 of the Prison, beating up the prisoners who protested and smashing their personal belongings. During this raid, which lasted around five hours, a number of political prisoners were injured and 32 were taken to Solitary Ward 240 of the Prison.

Three prisoners by the names of Saeed Haeri, Samkou Khalghati and Soheil Babaee are said to be in a critical state.

Other injured prisoners include Omid Behroozi (injury to the arm), Esmaeel Barzergari (broken ribs), Akbar Amini (head fracture) and another prisoner who suffered a heart attack and was taken to a hospital Coronary Care Unit.

The prisoners who have been transferred to Solitary Ward 240 include Mohammad Sedigh Kabudvand, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Yashar Darolshafa, Saeed Matinpour, Saeed Haeri, Davar Hosseini Vejdan and Ali Askari.

We condemn in the strongest possible term this vicious attack on the political prisoners in Evin Prison and demand their immediate return to Ward 350 and an end to the maltreatment and abuse of political prisoners.

The Iranian regime, and the prison authorities specifically, are accountable for any harm inflicted on the political prisoners in their jails.

We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, jailed workers and trade unionists in Iran. Hundreds of political prisoners are being held in Iranian jails on fabricated and arbitrary charges, merely for their political opinion or trade union activity.


Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

18 April 2014