Home   »  News   »  Iran



Workers’ Struggles in Iran- Urgent Actions Requested!

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran
February 22nd, 2009

News and Reports- Updates as of February 22, 2009- IASWI

· Agents of terror go free and May First activists get lashed!

· Ali-Akbar Pirhadi arrested

· Rahim Beshagh arrested

· Haft Tapeh Workers on trial

· LabourStart Act Now

· Afshin Shams freed conditionally

· Mohsen Hakimi freed on bail

· Sample Protest Letter

*Agents of terror go free and May First activists get lashed!

February 21, 2009 - As reported by “Coordinating Committee to Help Form workers’ organizations,” on Wednesday February 18th, 2009 lashing sentences against Ms. Shiva Kheirabadi and Ms. Sosuan Razani for their participation in May First events last year were carried out. Sousan Razani received a 9 months’ suspended sentence and 70 lashes and Shiva Kheirabadi a 4 months’ suspended sentence and 15 lashes. Furthermore, on Saturday, February 21, 2009, two other labour activists in Sanandaj, Abdullah Khani and Qaleb Hosseini were summoned to the Sanadaj judiciary. Mr. Qaleb Hosseini was sentenced to 50 lashes and 6 months in prison and Mr. Abdullah Khani, 40 lashes and 91 days in prison. Although these activists had appealed against these sentences, the court confirmed all of the sentences on February 21st and immediately carried out the whipping sentences against these labour activists. After that, they were both transferred to Sanandaj Central Prison to serve their unjust prison sentences.

A few months back the news of these sentences was met with widespread condemnation and disbelief. How is it possible in 21st century to put labour activists on trial according to a most inhumane medieval sentence? This ruling was widely condemned throughout the world. Thousands of protesters, through campaigns like the LabourStarts’ urgent action and others, demanded the repeal of these unjust sentences. But Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) once more demonstrated, though it could curtail on many issues and items, in its enmity with the worker and the labour movement there’s not a second of rest. The IRI has no hesitation utilizing the most horrendous instruments in defense and maintenance of Capital’s mastery and intimidation of workers who challenge this absolute dominance of Capital.

The ultimate goal of the IRI in carrying out such ultra-reactionary sentences is to intimidate workers from pursuing their inalienable rights. The warm and lively reception by Sanandaj activists bestowed upon Kheirabadi and Razani was an indication of exactly how “successful” IRI has been in carrying out its policy of intimidation.

But it’s not enough to merely defeat IRI in pursuance of its goals! Today labor activists from Haft Tapeh are being put on trial because they choose to protest violation of their most basic rights: the right to organize, and being paid for their labour. On this very same day May First activists get lashed, so Iranian working class would learn a lesson. But labour activists consider all these attacks as insults and violation upon the Iranian working class in its entirety, and shall not permit them to go unanswered! IASWI will utilize all its capacity to contribute to such a response.

We strongly condemn the enforcement of this most bestial sentence and send our gratitude to Kheirabadi, Razani, Khani and Hosseini for their struggle and resistance. All jailed labour activists must be freed immediately and unconditionally.

For more information, contact info@workers-iran.org or alliance@workers-iran.org

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

*This refers to the assassination attempts on the life of Mr. Majid Hamidi, an Iranian labour activist in the city of Sanadaj in Kurdistan Province of Iran in October 2007. No one has yet been arrested or identified as the perpetrator of this crime.

Ali-Akbar Pirhadi arrested

According to the latest news in Iran. Mr. Ali-Akbar Pirhadi, a member of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, was arrested on Thursday, February 19, 2009 by the intelligent forces and taken to the custody. The reason for his arrests is not clear at this moment. Two leaders of the Vahed Syndcate, Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, President and vice-president of the Syndicate’s board of directors, are currently imprisoned with lengthy prison sentences.

Rahim Beshagh arrested

According to a report by the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate, Mr. Rahim Beshagh, a member of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Syndicate, was arrested on February 22, 2009. Mr. Beshagh who had gone to the court in city of Shoush for a private matter, was ordered by the judge to go to the intelligent office for questions regarding the Syndicate and his opposition to the Islamic Labour Council, which is a pro-government/pro-employer association in the workplace to control labour activities. There is no news yet about Mr. Beshagh’s situation as of this time.

Haft Tapeh Workers on Trial

The following Haft Tapeh Workers were scheduled for a trial on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. Only two of these workers were questioned by the presiding judge during this trial (see the interview below). Their trial will resume on Monday, February 23, 2009.

- Ali Nejati, president of the Board of Director of the Syndicate,

- Feridoun Nikoufard, the Vice-President of the Board of Director;

- Mohammad Heydari Mehr, representative on industry affairs;

- Ghorban Alipour, Secretary

- Jalil Ahmadi, member of the Syndicate’s Board of Directors

LabourStart Act Now: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=468

The Association of Human Rights Activists: An Interview on Laborers of Haft Tapeh Legal Case with Mohammad Olyaifar

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The court considering the case of labor union leaders of Sugarcane Harvest and Industry Company (SHIC) convened yesterday. The Association of Human Rights Activists held an interview with Mr. Mohammad Olyaifar, the defense attorney for the labor leaders. Excerpts of that interview are provided in this report:

Mr. Olyaifar, please provide us with a detailed account of yesterday's court session, which was the third of its kind examining the complaints and strikes of SHIC laborers of Haft Tapeh.

Yesterday's court session convened with a two hour delay at 11:00 AM. The judge decided to individually consider the cases of the labor union leaders of SHIC. I accompanied the first defendant, Mr. Nejati, to the court and, upon arrival, presented my objection that the prosecutor's representative was not present. The judge accepted my objection and, subsequently, the prosecutor's representative arrived, and the court session officially started. I then submitted my objection that the allegations were vague and did not follow legal frameworks, which would make the work of defense virtually impossible. After much discussion with the judge, he did not agree to alter or revise the incomplete nature of the allegations. Therefore, I had to defend my client on the allegations of "propaganda against the government" and the seven elements associated with this charge, which do not apply in the case of my clients. It was my understanding that the case would close yesterday and the judge would initiate the votes. However, the legal discussions that preceded the defense and disagreements on the nature of the charges and the limited time led to rescheduling of the court to the following week, when the cases of my other four clients will also be examined.

Why do you think such confrontations are occurring with social activists? Why do they resort to pressing such vague charges against the activists?

In the case of civil or labor activists, generally the government's approach has been ideological and not in line with legal regulations and framework. The issue of strike is considered a right in international labor covenants. Filing complaints regarding pay raise or delayed compensation for laborers should naturally follow negotiations of labor leaders, the employer, and government representatives. However, in Iran, any such strikes or complaints are viewed as national security issues and invite the attention of the Ministry of Intelligence, security forces, and the Revolutionary Court.

How do you foresee the course of this case?

If the judge is not influenced and biased by the mounting reports provided by the national security and intelligence forces and solely considers this case from a legal viewpoint in line with legal deductive reasoning and justice, there would be a high chance that he would acquit my clients of all charges. However, if he chooses to forgo his objectivity and does not critically examine the file and is influences by the reports of the Ministry of Intelligence, conviction of my clients will not be unexpected.

LabourStart Act Now: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=468 ___________________________________________________________

Afshin Shams freed conditionally

Afshin Shams received a conditional discharge on February 16, 2009. Mr. Afshin Shams, a member of “Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ organizations” was arrested at his work in city of Aligoodarz on July on July 3, 2008 and later was transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan. On November 1, 2008, he received his verdict from the court according which he was sentenced to one year imprisonment.

Mohsen Hakimi freed on bail

Mr. Mohsen Hakimi was released on a 100 million toman (US$10,000) on February 20, 2009. Mr. Hakimi was under heavy interrogation and pressures during his jail time. This was the sixth times that Mr. hakimi was arrested by the Islamic Republic regime. He was accused of affiliation to opposition parties, distribution of materials against the Islamic Republic and a membership with the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization. Mr. Hakimi denied the first two charges and admitted that he was a founding member of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization and in charge of its website. Mr. Hakimi was arrested on December 22, 2009.

Sample Protest Letter (updated February 22, 2009)

I am writing to strongly protest against persecution and repression of labour activists in Iran.

- Mr. Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company, sentenced to five years imprisonment, incarcerated since July 2007. Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Osanloo has been beaten numerous times by security forces. He has some serious health problems.

- Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a 33 year old teacher and union and human rights activist from Kurdistan province. He has been sentenced to death by the Iranian government and has been severely tortured. Despite international protests his execution sentence has not been revoked.

- Mr. Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Mr. Madadi has been arrested a number of times before. The latest arrest took place in the North Branch of the Employment office in Tehran on December 27, 2008. Mr. Molayee, Maddi’s lawyer, has told the BBC Persian that Mr. Madadi has been arrested according to a court order issued by division 14 of the Islamic Revolution Court according to which he has been sentenced to three and half years of imprisonment for “acting against the national security” and “propaganda against the system” . However, Mr. Molayee reports that the court order was never given to him or Mr. Madadi, thus they did not have a chance to appeal it. The court claims that they had verbally informed Mr. Madadi about it when he was detained for another case previously. Mr. Madadi had spent about 4 months in prison last year. Mr. Madadi is currently detained in Evin prison.

- Mr. Pedram Nasrolahi, who is a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in Kurdistan, arrested on December 24, 2008.

- Mr. Salam Ghaderi labour activists and member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in city of Marivan. He was arrested on February 7, 2009. As of this date, there is not information about his whereabouts.

- Mr. Khaled Asadi, labour activists and member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations in City of Marivan. He was arrested on February 7, 2009. As of this date, there is not information about his whereabouts.

- Mr. Azad Hosseini, labour activist in city of Marivan, arrested on February 7, 2009.

- Mr. Borhan Saeedi, a labour activist and member of the Women’s Council, an independent non-profit organization, in the city of Sanandaj, arrested on January 14, 2009. He is detained in Sanandaj’s Central prison. He suffers from heart problems.

- Mr. Ali-Akbar Pirhadi, an activist member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company was arrested on Saturday, February 21, 2009 by the intelligent forces and taken to an unknown location. The reason for his arrests is not clear at this moment.

- Mr. Rahim Beshagh, a member of the board of directors of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers’ Syndicate, was arrested on February 22, 2009. Mr. Beshagh who had gone to the court in city of Shoush for a private matter, was ordered by the judge to go to the intelligent office for questions regarding the Syndicate and his opposition to the Islamic Labour Council, which is a pro-government/pro-employer association in the workplace to control labour activities. There is no news yet about Mr. Beshagh’s situation as of this time.

- The following Haft Tapeh Workers were scheduled for a trial on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. Only two of these workers were questioned by the presiding judge during this trial (see the interview below). Their trial will resume on Monday, February 23, 2009.

- Ali Nejati, president of the Board of Director of the Syndicate,

- Feridoun Nikoufard, the Vice-President of the Board of Director;

- Mohammad Heydari Mehr, representative on industry affairs;

- Ghorban Alipour, Secretary

- Jalil Ahmadi, member of the Syndicate’s Board of Directors

In addition, many labour activists in Iran are under suspended sentences or await trials and are suspended or expelled from their workplace as the result of their labour activities. Also Mohsen Hakimi, Bijan Amiri, Afshin Shams and Taha Azadi are on bail, await trials or freed conditionally. Just within the last few days in February 2009, four labour activists received outrageous whipping sentences, Ms. Sousan Razani, Ms. Shiva Kheirabadi, Mr. Qaleb Hosseini and Mr. Abdullah Khani, only because of their participation in a May Day event Last year.

Therefore, I condemn all these arrests, persecutions and repression of labour activists and organizations in Iran and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all incarcerated workers. I also ask the Iranian government to respect workers’ rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers’ organizations.

Name

Organization

Position

Send Copy of your Protest Letters to:

info@leader.ir, dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir, info@judiciary.ir; iran@un.int 

CC: info@workers-iran.org

*************************

For more information, contact info@workers-iran.org or alliance@workers-iran.org

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)

www.workers-iran.org


Order Buttons



This site designed by Radical Designs
based on an original design by Radical Fusion.
Please help us by sending any problems that you may encounter to us here.