December 12, 2010

Imprisoned trade unionist on hunger strike: Reza Shahabi


Reza Shahabi, a leading member of an independent but unrecognized trade union in Iran, remains detained in Evin Prison, Tehran, where he has begun a hunger strike. Although Saeed Torabian, another leading member, was released on 20 July, other union members have since been arrested, bringing the total in prison to six.
Reza Shahabi, the Treasurer of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), was arrested on 12 June, three days after the arrest of Saeed Torabian, the union’s spokesperson. Held incommunicado detention for some weeks, he later contacted his family and told them he was being held in Evin Prison, Tehran. He began a hunger strike on 4 December in protest at his continued detention.

Union members Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Morteza Komsari and Ali Akbar Nazari have all been arrested since the beginning of November. Amnesty International believes that all four men are probably prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their peaceful trade union activities, in which case they should be released immediately and unconditionally. Mansour Ossanlu and Ebrahim Maddadi, respectively head and deputy head of the union, are currently serving prison sentences; both are prisoners of conscience. Amnesty International is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 22 (1) of which states: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests," and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 8 of which guarantees the “right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice”.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:

•Urging the Iranian authorities to release Reza Shahabi and other recently detained members of the same union (naming them) if, as appears, they are held solely for their peaceful trade union activities, or else to bring them to trial promptly and fairly on recognizable criminal charges;

•Calling on the authorities to ensure that those held are protected from torture or other ill-treatment,and are granted immediate access to their families, to lawyers of their choice, and to adequate medical care.

•Urging authorities to release Mansour Ossanlu and Ebrahim Maddadi immediately and unconditionally;

•Calling on the authorities to uphold their obligations to allow the right to form and join independent trade unions.

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