Monday 14 January 2013

Letter from prison by labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh about his sick son

I was putting up with the prison pain, but suddenly tonnes of grief came down upon me

I don’t know when it was, maybe eight to nine days ago, when I heard that my only child, my 13-year old Nima, already overcome by the pain of separation from his father and all kinds of deprivation, has been admitted to Mahak Hospital, a hospital for children with cancer; a bitter experience and a shocking moment, which have pierced deep into my soul.

I don’t know about the condition of my darling child. My wife doesn’t clearly tell me, but she hopes that I would soon be given leave to come and see them. I have therefore asked for leave, which if granted would certainly have a great impact on me and my sick child. This is the only moment in the life of a father, which he doesn’t want to lose under any circumstances. So, thanks to my friends, I have come up with a property surety, and like in the past when I have asked for things, I have been given a favourable answer. But maybe this time too it will turn out to be just words.

Under these circumstances, with thousands of thoughts in my mind about my son Nima, remembering the empty promises of those in charge has turned my suffering into an excruciating pain. I have to be at the side of my sick child. This is my right. I am a political prisoner, whose anguish over his son’s illness has made everything look dark. There are several courses of action open to me, one of which is to go on a dry hunger strike. Maybe I’ll get an answer that way.

I want to choose patience and endurance, while resisting and putting pressure; however, anything can happen. First, deprivation from food, leave, proper visits, telephone, medical care, etc., and now deprivation from the right to be at the side of my sick child is what is going to break me down.

I insist on my demand for leave to visit my child; at the same time, I appeal to everyone to support the rights of my child and to help his recovery. Who would have thought that someone who for years has fought for children’s and workers’ rights, would one day be in prison for his beliefs and defence of children, and then hear that groups of compassionate people, friends and comrades are visiting his sick child, but he himself isn’t able to stroke the feverish head of his child?

I will defy and resist, as I have done up to now, but who is answerable for all this injustice and suffering? Who is responsible for the condition that my child Nima is in?

I have hope in the strong and kind hands of the doctors and nurses, hope in the support of friends, comrades, colleagues and the good and caring people of the country. I am most grateful to all those who over these past days have been asking about my child and who have visited my family and son.

I thank all the doctors and nurses of Mahak Hospital and all those who have been helping to aid the recovery of my son. In the hope of a speedy recovery for my son Nima Ebrahimzadeh and all sick children.

Behnam (As’ad) Ebrahimzadeh
Political Prisoner
Ward 35, Evin Prison
January 2013

Translation from Farsi by Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Campaign to free labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

Call by nine political prisoners in Iran

Nine political prisoners in Iran have in a statement called for pressure to be put on the Islamic regime in Iran to release Behnam Ebrahimzadeh so he can be with his son Nima who is severely ill with cancer. The regime has put Behnam Ebrahimzadeh in prison  for over two years for supporting workers and children. Nima is only 14 years old, and his dad has been in prison since he was 11. Nima is  lying in hospital; however, the criminal regime is not letting his dad to be by his side. In the mean time, Ebrahimzadeh’s family are in difficult circumstances trying to meet the cost of Nima’s medicine and treatment. By not allowing Behnam to visit his son, the Islamic regime is torturing not only Behnam, who is a political prisoner, but also 14-year old Nima, who has endured the pain of not seeing his dad for the past three years.

Keeping Behnam in jail is a monstrous crime. We must put pressure on the Islamic Republic regime through a worldwide campaign to immediately release Behnam. Behnam’s only crime is to have defended the rights of children and workers. We support the solemn call by the political prisoners in Iran, and in turn call on everyone, on political parties, trade unions, social media activists, the media, youth, children’s rights defenders and all human rights organisations in Iran and around the world to support this call and put pressure on this inhuman regime to free Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.

The upcoming actions of the Campaign will soon be announced.

Children First Now!
Karim Shahmohammadi

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
Shahla Daneshfar

Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran
Shiva Mahbobi

10 January 2013

Letter by nine political prisoners from Rajaee Shahr Prison, Iran:

It is Behnam’s certain right to be given leave to visit his loved one who is ill

We a group of political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison have been informed that Nima, the 14-year old and only son of labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, who is serving a five-year sentence, is ill in hospital, suffering from cancer. Nima’s doctors have said that emotionally Nima desperately needs his father to be at his side for the treatment to be effective. However, the Prison officials, with the complicity of the Ministry of Intelligence, are refusing to give Behnam leave so he can visit his beloved son, while according to existing laws this is Behnam’s absolute right, especially as his loved one is in such grave circumstances.

While condemning this inhuman action of the Islamic Republic regime, we call on all international organisations and all those who care for freedom to step up their pressure on the regime in every way they can so it grants leave for Behnam. Behnam’s only crime is to have fought for the rights of the working class, the right to organise, the right to strike, and to have defended homeless working children. Behnam is a dad in prison, who has not embraced his only son in years, and now his son is dangerously ill and under chemotherapy.


Vahid Ardalani, Reza Dehghani, Afshin Enayatian, Afshin Osanloo, Shahrokh Zamani, Ali Jabbari, Firooz Mansoori, Misagh Yazdan-nezhad, Saleh Kohandel

9 January 2013

Thursday 10 January 2013

Labour leader Reza Shahabi on five-day medical leave from jail

Campaign for his release continues!

Imprisoned labour leader Reza Shahabi who has been on hunger strike for three weeks in protest against his imprisonment and maltreatment was on Monday released on a five-day medical leave.  The brief release has come under the pressure of powerful protests in Iran and worldwide.

Reza Shahabi, an executive board member of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company, has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in building the bus workers’ union.  In April 2012, having already spent 22 months in jail, Shahabi was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from union activity for a further five years.

Shahabi began a hunger strike on 17 December in protest against his continued imprisonment, lack of medical care, and abuse and maltreatment by the prison guards.  According to his wife, Robabeh Rezaee, he has already lost about 15kg and is suffering from back and neck pain and high blood pressure. 

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Delighted at Reza Shahabi’s brief release, our campaign calls for the continuation of worldwide pressures to ensure Shahabi stays out of jail and receives the medical care that he needs.  We should not let the Islamic Republic authorities return Shahabi to jail.

Reza Shahabi and all jailed workers and political prisoners must be released immediately and unconditionally!

9 January 2013

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
Shahla Daneshfar (
Bahram Soroush (