Iranian Trade Unionists Held Incommunicado: URGENT ACTION
In the year since the June 2009 massive popular protests in Iran, repression continues apace; surveillance, arrests, imprisonment and torture abound. Labor leaders have been targeted along with other independent activists, journalists, students, gays, and defenders of women’s rights.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 JULY 2010 TO:Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
The Union (or Syndicate) of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) was banned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Workers resumed the Union's activities in 2004, although it is not legally recognized. On 22 December 2005, police arrested 12 of the Union's leaders at their homes but quickly released four of them. Other members were arrested on 25 December 2005 after they went on strike to call for the release of their colleagues. Saeed Torabian was among those arrested, and spent one month in custody. Hundreds more were arrested during a further strike in January 2006 (see UA 08/06, MDE 13/002/2006, and UA 26/06, MDE 13/008/2006, and updates)
Two other members of the Union's board, Mansour Ossanlu and Ebrahim Maddadi, the Head and Deputy Head of the Union respectively, are currently serving prison sentences for their peaceful trade union activities. Mansour Ossanlu is serving a five-year prison sentence and is currently held in poor conditions in Reja'i Shahr Prison, in Karaj near Tehran. Ebrahim Maddadi is held in Evin Prison, Tehran, serving a three-year prison term imposed in 2007. Both are prisoners of conscience.
Saeed Torabian and Reza Shahabi had been suspended from work, without pay, for about four years following the strikes in 2005. They were eventually reinstated after the Court of Administrative Justice investigated their case. This Court is empowered to investigate complaints against government employees.
Other trade unionists have been arrested or harassed recently, including members of local Teachers' Trade Associations, particularly in the run-up to International Labour Day on 1 May and National Teachers' day on 2 May 2010. Some of them were summoned by security officials, and some were detained for several hours, while the houses of others were searched, and some union meetings were broken up by the authorities.
The Iranian authorities refused permission for demonstrations to be held on the anniversary of the presidential election, and arrests of political activists, human rights defenders, students, trade unionists and others increased in the days and weeks before the anniversary. Some people defied a heavy security presence to demonstrate on the streets of Tehran. At least 91 people were arrested in connection with demonstrations, according to the Tehran Police Commander.
Protests at the disputed outcome of the 2009 election were violently repressed, with scores killed. Thousands were arrested, many of whom were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, often to obtain forced "confessions". Hundreds have been tried unfairly, including in mass "show trials", many of whom are serving long-prison terms, often as prisoners of conscience. Some have been sentenced to death, and two executed.
For further information please see, From Protest to Prison: Iran One Year after the Election, (Index MDE 13/062/2010), June 2010, www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/062/2010/en and Iran: Election Contested, Repression Compounded (Index MDE 13/123/2009), December 2009, www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/123/2009/en.