According to reports published by the Free Union of Workers in Iran (a trade union in Iran), jailed labour activist Behnam (Asad) Ebrahimzadeh has been sentenced to 20 years in prison by Branch 15 of Revolution Court in Tehran. Behnam is a member of the workers’ group Follow-Up Committee to Set Up Free Labour Organisations in Iran.
The news of the sentence was reported by Behnam himself in a telephone contact with his family from prison on New Year’s day. The sentencing follows Behnam’s conviction on 13 December on the charge of Moharebeh, i.e. ‘waging war against God’, for alleged association with a dissident opposition group; a charge which Behnam’s parents have described as pure fabrication intended to frame their son.
Behnam, a worker at a polyethylene pipe-manufacturing factory in the outskirts of Tehran, has already spent nearly 7 months in prison since his arrest on 12 June 2010. Previously, he was arrested, along with scores of other worker activists, at the independent May Day rally in 2009 at Laleh Park in Tehran. The rally, which was called jointly by ten independent workers’ organisations in Iran, was violently attacked by the regime’s security forces and plain clothes agents. Behnam was detained for a month and then released on bail.
Like other labour activists currently in Iran’s prisons, Behnam is in prison solely for his labour activities, for defending workers’ rights. Other labour activists currently in jail in Iran include leading members of Tehran’s bus workers’ union Mansoor Ossanlou, Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi and Gholamreza Gholamhosseini.