Iranian trade union activists do not belong in prison

International issues In a statement sent to the leaders of Iran and the judicial authorities of the country, LO and its affiliates IF Metall, Municipal Workers' Union and the Transport Workers' Union, condemn the brutal treatment of trade union activists in Iran and demand unconditional release of imprisoned unionists.

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The situation of trade union activists has not improved

Iran's reintegration into the international arena is unfortunately not followed by improved situation for trade union activists within free and independent trade unions in the country. Here is a gloomy report on the reality of the people in Iran who engage in free and independent trade unions to fight for labour rights.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive council of the Tehran bus drivers' union, was arrested in June 2010. In 2016 Reza's ongoing five-year prison sentence was extended for another year. Reza is temporarily released on bail to receive medical treatment for torture injuries he suffered in prison. Although Reza’s medical treatment is not completed, he has now been called back to prison. Together with his lawyer, Reza appealed to the authority for security issues on his case. The authority for security issues has however ordered him back to prison. These discussions are still ongoing.

Tehran's revolutionary court has ordered Reza to appear at the prosecutor's office on February 11, 2017, at the latest, to be brought back to prison. It should be noted that the Iranian regime, following international pressure from trade unions in other countries, officially announced that Reza Shahabi had been released and returned to his former workplace. This information is incorrect.

We can also note that Ebrahim Madadi and Davoud Razavi, both members of the executive council of the Tehran bus drivers' union, are urged to immediately return to prison to serve a five-year prison sentence. After having served a five-year prison sentence, Behnam Ebrahimzade was given an extended prison term of seven years.

Jafar Ezimzadeh, leader of the Iranian Free Workers’ Union, is now a requested person and has been ordered to appear in division No. 4 in the city of Saveh, to serve a five years’ prison sentence. Mohammad Salehi, former leader of the bakery workers’ union in the city of Saghez, is convicted to nine years of imprisonment, but due to kidney disorder and diabetes he is currently free, in order to receive medical care.

Esmail Abdi, President of Iranian teachers’ union, has been sentenced to six years of imprisonment, Mahmoud Beheshti Langarudi, spokesperson of the Iranian teachers’ union has been sentenced to fourteen years of imprisonment, and three other members of the board of the Iranian teachers’ union have been convicted to between five and six years of prison sentence, because of their union activities.

LO demands release of imprisoned unionists

This reveals the Iranian regime’s and Iranian judicial authorities’ total lack of respect of the fundamental human rights and of the ILO. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, The Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, the Swedish Transport Workers’ Union and IF Metall condemn the persecution and imprisonment of free and independent trade union activists in Iran.

We demand:
· That all imprisoned unionists must be unconditionally released
· That all charges against trade union activists must be dropped
· That Iran must respect and apply the core labour standards of the ILO
· That the brutal treatment of trade union activists and dissenters must cease

Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation LO

Anders Ferbe, IF Metall

Tobias Baudin, The Swedish Municipal Workers' Union

Lars Lindgren, The Swedish Transport Workers' Union