On Wednesday 18th February, two women workers were flogged, following their conviction by a court in Sanandaj for taking part in last year’s May Day celebrations. Susan Razani received a 9 months’ suspended sentence and 70 lashes and Shiva Kheir Abadi 3 years’ suspended sentence and 15 lashes.
Two other workers in the same case, namely Abdullah Khani and Seyyed Ghaleb Hosseini, have been sentenced to 91 days’ prison and 40 lashes and 6 months’ prison and 40 lashes each, respectively.
Last year the regime in Iran carried out flogging sentences on four other workers also for taking part in May Day rallies, precipitating widespread condemnations and protests in Iran and internationally.
The floggings are part of an ongoing persecution of labour activists, amid worker protests over pay and conditions and the right to freely organise and strike. On Sunday 15th Feb leading unionist Taha Azadi, who is on the executive board of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, appeared before a court in Cangan on charges of ‘acts against national security’ and ‘publicity against the system’. Mr Azadi was arrested last year for taking part in a May Day rally in the industrial zone of Asalouyeh and has already spent 47 days in prison. The court has deferred announcement of its decision and sentencing to a later date.
In the mean time, five leading members of the Union of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers by the names of Ramazan Alipour, Fereydoun Nikoufard, Ali Nejati, Jalil Ahmadi and Mohammad Heydari have been summoned to appear before a court in Dezfoul on charges of setting up the sugar cane workers’ union.
A number of other well-known worker activists are under persecution for taking part in strikes and/or other labour activities. Six leading members of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, namely, Ata Babakhani, Saeed Torabian, Abbas Najand-Kouhi, Ali Zadeh Hossein, Davoud Razavi and Yaghoub Salimi, have been sentenced to 6 to 14 months’ prison for taking part in the 2006 strike, while Mansoor Ossanlou and Ebrahim Madadi remain in prison. Teacher activist Farzad Kamangar has been sentenced to death and scores of students have been imprisoned for protesting against repression and gender-segregation.
The International Labour Solidarity Committee of WPI requests labour and human rights organisations and individuals around the world to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the outrageous flogging of workers by the regime in Iran and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained. Please send your letters of protest to the following offices of the Islamic Republic, with copies to us:
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St.,Vali Asr Ave.
South of Serah-e Jomhouri