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
Bahram Soroush

4 July 2014


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