Behnam Ebrahimzadeh’s letter to International Labour Organisation
The annual conference of the ILO is due to start on June 5th. I, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, have been sentenced to five years in prison for my struggles in support of workers’ and children’s rights. I have already spent three years in prison, and now, although my only son is in hospital for leukaemia, they want to return me to prison.
I ask all workers’ and human rights organisations around the world to protest against this decision, and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed workers and political prisoners. I call on the trade union delegates at the ILO Conference to support the struggle of workers in Iran and this appeal of mine. However, I would also like to protest: for how long is the ILO, as an organisation which speaks in the name of worker, going to remain silent on all these violations? I, as a worker, expect the ILO to put pressure on the participating states to respect the most basic rights of workers and people. The right to organise, the right to strike and the unconditional right to free expression are all basic human rights, just like the air we breath, and whose breach is a blatant crime. In particular, in Iran, poverty and inflation are wreaking havoc, while wages, several times below the poverty line, have driven a large part of the society towards destruction.
Today in Iran workers are in prison for protesting against this situation and for their basic rights. The detentions and persecution of workers’ leaders and activists must be condemned. With this letter, I wish to be the voice of my and my family’s protest and that of jailed workers and all political prisoners.
Jailed worker, 22 May 2013
Translation by: Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran