9 May 2008
There are growing concerns over the continued detention of three activists arrested in connection with this year’s May Day events in Iran. Eleven other detained workers have now been released, some on heavy bail.
Sheis Amani, Javanmir Moradi and Taha Azadi are all founders and leading members of the newly formed Free Union of Workers in Iran. Sheis Amani, a veteran shop-steward and organiser from Sanandaj, was arrested ahead of May Day. Javanmir Moradi and Taha Azadi, member and substitute member, respectively, of the union’s governing board, were arrested on 1st May as they came to take part in the May Day rally called by the union in the port town of Asaluye, the site of a petroleum processing complex in the south of Iran.
Amani – who last year spent 42 days in prison for taking part in May Day celebrations – was arrested on 23 April as he arrived at the provincial court to replace a document as a condition of his bail. His appeal hearing (along with that of his colleague Sedigh Karimi) over a two and half year prison sentence is pending.
Javanmir Moradi and Taha Azadi are reported to have been transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence offices in the city of Bushehr. Sheis Amani is in detention in Sanandaj. The three are being held without access to their lawyers and families, and no charges are believed to have been formally filed against them.
There are fears that by keeping these activists in detention, the authorities are not only sending a warning to workers who defied the May Day ban, but also targeting the newly formed union, which actively mobilised for May Day. All labour activity and union organising in Iran is banned. The Free Union was formed on 19 April this year, when a general assembly of the former National Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers voted unanimously to reconstitute itself as the Free Union of Workers in Iran.
URGENT ACTION REQUESTED
Please send letters of protest to the Islamic Republic government, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all three activists. Please forward a copy to WPI’s International Labour Solidarity Committee for info:
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
The Head of the Judiciary:
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave.,
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,