Mahdavi-tabars must be granted refugee status!

Urgent Action
29 May 2009

Re: Ali Reza Mahdavi-tabar, case no: 385-07c01469, date of birth: 29/12/1978
Mehdi Mahdavi-tabar, case no: 385-07c01464, date of birth: 18/09/1982
Hamideh Mahdavi-tabar, case no: 385-07c0146, date of birth: 27/05/1984

Alireza, Mehdi and Hamideh are the children of Manouchehr Mahdavi-tabar, a well-known Iranian labour activist and one of the leading members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Vahed Bus Company. Mahdavi-tabar was fired, imprisoned thrice, and forced to flee after being threatened with death by security agents as a result of his labour activities.

Mahdavi-tabar is currently living in Canada after having been granted refugee status for the persecution he faced. His children, however, continue to face a tenuous situation, having been refused refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey where they fled from Iran.

It is common knowledge that families of labour activists are often harassed, intimidated and persecuted by the Iranian government. In the case of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Vahed Bus Company, the government violently attacked and arrested many workers and their leadership as well as a number of their wives and children. At the time, human rights groups called on the Iranian government to stop its persecution of workers and their families. Some of those arrested continue to languish in prison. In the case of Mahdavi-tabar’s children, they were active in supporting their father’s labour rights activities, including by distributing leaflets and raising awareness on the abysmal situation of workers at their places of work and study. Mehdi, for example, challenged the head of the Islamic regime’s Workers’ Council and a member of the Islamic Assembly and was fired from his job and expelled from university as a result. The Islamic regime of Iran treated the three children as social pariahs and denied them the right to education or work. They were also blacklisted and felt threatened and persecuted.

The three deserve refugee status and protection. They have a well-founded fear of persecution should they be returned to Iran.

To support the Mahdavi-tabar family, sign the petition here calling for the UNHCR in Turkey to review their cases and to grant them refugee status.

You can also send personal letters of protest to the UNHCR in Turkey:
Birleşmiş Milletler Mülteciler Yüksek Komiserliği ANKARA
Tiflis Cad. 552. Sok. No: 3 Sancak Mah. 06550 Ankara, Turkey
Tel: 0312 409 70 00
Fax: 0312 441 21 73
Email

For more information on this case, please contact: Tahmineh Sadeghi, Hambastegi-International Federation of Iranian Refugees-Vancouver, tel: 1 604 727 8986, fax: 1 604 873 4299, email: [email protected]

31 still in jail amid reports of torture

Iran: Campaign for the Release of May Day Detainees

Following the release of nine more detainees in recent days, 31 workers and activists arrested on May Day in Tehran continue to be detained at Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Most of the detainees have been transferred to Ward 7 of the Prison, while five are being held in Ward 209, which is the special interrogation ward run by the Intelligence Ministry. The five are Jafar Azim-Zadeh, Saeed Yuzi, Mohammad Ashrafi, Alireza Saghafi and Mohsen Saghafi.

According to reports by the Free Union of Iranian Workers, Jafar Azim-Zadeh, the Union’s President, shortly after a visit by his family, was taken to Ward 209 along with Saeed Yuzi and Mohammad Ashrafi, where they were badly beaten up. The detained workers have told their families that Jafar Azim-Zadeh has been beaten up particularly severely. In its statement, the Union condemned the brutal treatment of the detainees and held the security and judicial authorities of the Islamic Republic responsible for the life and safety of all those detained. The Union believes the prisoners are being beaten to extract false confessions.

The detainees freed on bail on 18th, 19th and 24th February have been named as Taha Vali-Zadeh, Bahram Abedini, Abouzar Khademi, Ali Piri, Homayoun Jaberi, Hamid Malak-Zadeh, Pourya Pishtareh, Mansoor Hayat-Gheibi and Yunes Arzhang.

In the mean time, over 50 workers’ organisations and collectives and rights groups in Iran so far have become signatories to the campaign for the release of the May Day detainees.* Around the world, many international, national and local trade unions have condemned the arrests, and, specifically, four global trade union federations, namely, ITUC, ITF, IUF and EI**, have called for world-wide demonstrations on 26th June in front of the Islamic Republic’s embassies and consulates. WPI has expressed its emphatic support for this action, and in a statement on 21st May called on the people in Iran and Iranian communities abroad to join these demonstrations in their respective cities. Mobilising support for the May Day detainees has been a daily feature of the programmes of WPI’s international 24-hour TV network NewChannel which broadcasts to Iran, Europe and the Middle East. †

At the same time, in protest at the planned attendance of the Islamic Republic’s delegation at the ILO’s Annual Conference in Geneva, and as part of the campaign for the release of the May Day detainees, WPI’s Organisation Abroad has called for a demonstration on the opening day of the ILO Conference on Wednesday 3rd June, 12:00 noon, in front of the UN’s Palais des Nations. (Please see separately for details of this demonstration.)

International Labour Solidarity Committee of the
Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI)

25 May 2009

For more information, contact ILSC.

* To contact and/or add your name to this campaign, please contact the email address announced by the campaign organisers.

** International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF); International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF); Education International (EI).

† NewChannel TV broadcasts 24 hours a day on Hotbird 8 and targets mainly Farsi-speaking audiences in Iran, the Middle East and Europe, with several programmes in English, Arabic and Kurdish. It can also be viewed online. Its highly popular and influential live evening programmes (local time) attract millions of viewers in Iran and Europe, with interactive caller participation.

World protests to demand union rights for Iranian workers

19 May 2009

Four global union organisations representing over 170 million workers have called a worldwide action day on June 26 to demand justice for Iranian workers. Demonstrations will take place outside Iranian embassies and consulates to protest the ongoing denial of rights and arrests of trade unionists within the country.

The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), EI (Education International), ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations) are forming a coalition for the event, which is the latest move in an ongoing campaign to secure justice and trade union rights inside Iran. They are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed trade unionist members and leaders including Mansour Osanloo, Ebrahim Madadi, Farzad Kamangar and the five leaders of the Haft Tapeh Sugarworkers’ Union, recently sentenced to a year in prison, as well as the release of trade unionists arrested in Tehran on May Day. Amnesty International has backed this campaign.

Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary explained: ‘Each of these organisations has campaigned to protect their colleagues in Iran, and now we are all joining forces to do it even more effectively.’

‘We have exhausted all avenues of reasonable dialogue to persuade the government of Iran to allow basic human and trade union rights. Their answer has been repression and arrests. Given this failure we must take to the streets to demonstrate that the world is watching what they are doing and what is happening to our colleagues within the country.’

ENDS

Families of May Day detainees still in the dark about the condition of their loved ones

[The following is the translation of a statement issued on Thursday 14th May by the Free Union of Iranian Workers]:

So far none of those arrested at Laleh Park rally, who are being held in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, has been able to meet their families or even contact them by phone. Those detained are said to be in the custody of the Intelligence Ministry and subjected to lengthy interrogations and all kinds of pressures. On Wednesday, the mother of one of those arrested, who lives in Esfahan’s Zarrin Shahr district, said that after 12 days and much searching she had found out that her son Hamid Malak Zadeh, who was a student in Tehran, had been arrested on May Day at Laleh Park. She said no-one was giving her any straight answers.

Following pressures and persistence by the families of the detainees, on the evening of Wednesday 13th May five of the women arrested at Laleh Park, namely Fatemeh Eghdami, Fatemeh Shah-Nazari, Sharifeh Mohammadi, Nasrin Rajavi and Somayyeh Navvab, were released on bail. The families of the detainees also last Tuesday and Wednesday wrote letters to human rights organisations to ask for their support to get their loved ones freed.

The gathering of the families of those detained in front of the Revolutionary Court is continuing and will resume from the beginning of next week [Friday is weekend in Iran - Tr].

Free Union of Iranian Workers
[Ettehadiy e Azad e Kargaran e Iran]

14 May 2009

Join the Rally at the ILO Geneva to demand release of May Day detainees in Iran

Join the Rally in Geneva
In Solidarity with Workers in Iran and to Demand the Release of May Day Detainees on Wednesday June 3
Join the Rally in front of the ILO Conference Centre

The annual assembly of the ILO will take place between June 3 and 19, 2009, in Geneva. Like previous years, a delegation representing the Islamic Republic regime in Iran and representatives of regime-made organisations will participate in this assembly. Those who are responsible for repressing workers should not be allowed to join the ILO. The Islamic regime in Iran should be expelled from the ILO for oppressing workers and depriving them from all their rights.

To support the struggle of workers and to demand the release of the workers who were arrested on May 1, and the release of all imprisoned workers in Iran join this rally!

We call on all freedom loving people and worker organisations to take part in the rally.

Time: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 12.00 hours
Place: Geneva, in front of the ILO Conference Centre

May Day Detainees should be Released Immediately and Unconditionally!
Free Imprisoned Workers, Free Political Prisoners!
Islamic Republic Out of the ILO!

Worker-communist Party of Iran-Organisation Abroad
May 9, 2009

Contacts:
Bahram Soroush: +44 785 233 83 34; Arash Mehdizadeh: +41 764 006 962; Shahnaz Morattab: +49 172 971 62 27
Yadi Kouhi: +33 636 339 054; Farshad Hosseini: +31 633 602 627

Call for a campaign for the release of May Day detainees

To workers and labour organisations in Iran and around the world!

On May Day, workers and their families who had gathered at Tehran’s Laleh Park, following a call by the May Day Organising Committee (made up of Iran’s independent labour organisations), to voice their demands and to commemorate this day, were attacked by the police and security forces and plain clothes officers. A number of people who were in the park were also attacked. Using various brutal means and instruments, the security forces seriously injured a large number of people and arrested and put in jail over 150. Of these, around 100 are still in prison.

These people had not committed any crime to be attacked and detained in such an inhuman way. Today they are in jail, in appalling conditions, for [commemorating May Day] together with billions of workers around the world; for voicing the demands of millions of people in Iran who are humiliated everyday, not paid for months and suppressed for setting up independent organisations; for raising their voice of protest. Their families have been contacting the courts and other judicial authorities every day to seek their release, but are being met by abuse and conflicting responses.

We millions of working people who yearn for equality have a responsibility towards the imprisoned workers and their families and must not leave them alone. By declaring this campaign, we call on all labour and human rights organisations in Iran and internationally to condemn the arrest of these loved ones and to call for their unconditional release. We call on them to do all within their power and to use all possible means to support these workers and their families and insist on their demands as set out in their May Day Resolution.

Long live the class solidarity of workers of the world.

Please send your statements of support and reports of actions taken to the this email address.

Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company
Union of Workers of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers
Free Union of Iranian Workers
Committee for the Re-opening of the Union of Building Painting and Decoration Workers
Co-operating Council of Workers’ Organisations and Activists comprised of:
– Follow-up Committee to Form Free Workers’ Organisations
– Co-ordinating Committee to Aid Formation of Workers’ Organisations
– A Group of Worker Activists
– Women’s Council
– Association for Support of Worker Rights

This campaign is supported by:

Kermanshah Electricity and Metal Society
Society to Defend Sacked Workers of Saqez
Committee to Defend Haft Tape Workers
Workers of Sanandaj Par-Ris Factory
Sanandaj Shin-Baaft Textile Factory
Workers of Shahoo Companies
Kurdistan Textile
Gharb-Baaft [Textile Company]
Sheel Brick
Pak Ara Milk
Sama Gunnysack Makers
Fajr Flour
Niroo Raksh [Power Company]
Service workers of Sanandaj Tohid Hospital
A group of Sanandaj retirees
Workers of West Kermanshah Carpet Company
Dena Tyre Company
Ghaiee Cement
A group of workers of Asalouye [Petrochemical Complex]
A group of Iran Khodro [Car Company]

Translation: International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (ILSC-WPI). For info: [email protected] [email protected]

The following are among around 100 still in jail:

1- Jafar Azim Zadeh
2- Shapour Ehsani Rad
3- Bahram (Isa) Abedini
4- Saeed Yuzi
5- Behrooz Khabbaz
6- Yunes Arzhang
7- Maryam Mohseni
8- Mohammad Ashrafi
9- Laleh Mohammadi
10- Sharif Mohammadi
11- Afsaneh Azimzadeh
12- Fatemeh Eghdami
13- Fatemeh Shah Nazari
14- Mohammad Lotfi
15- Masoud Loghman
16- Ghloamreza Khani
17- Mansoor Hayat Gheibi
18- Behnaz Farmanbar
19- Parvaneh Ghasemian
20- Meysam Jafar Nejad
21- Amir Yaghoub Ali
22- Kaveh Mozaffari
23- Jelveh Javaheri
24- Alireza Saghafi
25- Mohsen Saghafi
26- Asadollah Poorfarhad
27- Alireza Firouzi
28- Pourya Pishtazeh
29- Taha Valizadeh
30- Homa Azhdarnia
31- Hamid Khademi
32- Einollah Basiri
33- Omid Shafiee
34- Navid Yazdi
35- Nasrin Alizadeh
36- Sajjad Sabz Alipour
37- Aysan Zarfam
38- Khoshbakht
39- Ahmad Davoudi
40- Mohammadi Salimi
41- Mohammad Ehsani
42- Saleh Kia Abadi
43- Hamid Yaghoub Ali
44- Sirous Fathi
45- Sharifeh Fathi
46- Maryam Mirbahari
47- Maryam Yaminifar
48- Mahmoud Hosseini
49- Homayoun Jaberi
50- Behnam Ebrahim Zadeh
51- Hamid Malak Zadeh
52- Sadegh Keyvan
53- Azhan Pour Sharifi
54- Zanyar Ahmadi
55- Behzad Khabbaz
56- Hamid Yaghoub Ali
57- Mehdi Shandiz Farahani
58- Farajollah Sa’di
59- Najme Ranjbaran
60- Ali Moa’zzab
61- Saeed Sajoodi
62- Hamid Ghorbani
63- Yekzad Zangeh
64- Asghar Yavari
65- Gholamreza Rajabi

[12 May 2009]

Demand release of May Day participants detained in Iran

This year we had an exemplary May Day in Iran. It was a great victory for the workers and the people at large They got to showcase their power against brutal Islamist oppression. Despite the regime’s undeclared martial law, dozens of workers’ organisations across the nation celebrated May Day in Tehran and some other cities in a uniquely united fashion unseen in the past 30 years. They also issued a nationwide comprehensive resolution outlining and emphasising the most fundamental and immediate demands of their own and of the great majority of the people in Iran. This, in itself, was a great, valuable achievement for all the people led by the working class on its international day.

In the early hours of May Day the Islamic Republic of Iran executed Delara Darabi –who was 17 years old when she allegedly committed murder in order to further terrorise the society. This child-killing act of the ruling criminals in Iran received immediate international response; it was reflected widely in the world media and strongly condemned by international organizations, world political institutions, etc. Following that heinous crime, the Islamic regime brutally attacked the May Day public gathering in Tehran. It mobilised its police and its paramilitary thugs (known as baseeji) in other cities too in order to take over the streets and prevent May Day celebrations. However, despite the regime’s cowardly precautionary measures, May Day was celebrated much more gloriously than ever.

In Tehran some two thousand people gathered at the May Day meeting arena during the very first moments. In order to prevent the continuous increase in the number of participants, police and paramilitary forces blockaded the meeting arena and attacked the demonstrators with batons and teargas. The police barbarically beat the demonstrators and wounded many. More than 170 people, some half of them women, were arrested and sent into custody.

In Sanandaj, in order to prevent May Day celebrations, 5 worker leaders were kept in custody until the evening of May 1. The police also arrested 6 other worker leaders during the celebrations and kept them in custody until the next day. In spite of all these, the workers succeeded in holding their ceremonies.

Since May Day the families of the detainees have been gathering in front of the court in Tehran everyday, demanding the release of their relatives. Due to the efforts of the families a number of the detainees have been released. However, about 130, including renowned worker leaders and activists, are still in custody.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has set unbearibly hefty bails for the release of those Who remain in detention. The regime seeks to subdue worker leaders and activists. This is a measure aimed at weakening the workers’ ability to organise and protest.

The workers and people in Iran need international support and solidarity in order to acquire their rights; they count on this support. The Islamic Republic uses the weapon of death penalty and executes children and adolescents in order to terrorise the society. The people in Iran expect you to condemn these atrocities. They expect you to condemn suppression of workers on May Day. They expect you to use all your power to pressure the Islamic regime for the immediate and unconditional release of May Day detainees and all imprisoned worker leaders and activists. Representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the regime-made so-called workers’ organisations should be condemned and expelled from the ILO for their numerous crimes against the workers and people in Iran.

Long Live International Workers’ Solidarity!

Khalil Keyvan
Secretary of Worker-communist Party of Iran-Organisation Abroad

The following May Day detainees have been identified so far:
1.Jafar Azimzadeh, 2.Shahpour Ehsani-Rad, 3.Bahram (Isa) Abedini, 4.Saeed Youzee, 5.Behrouz Khabbaz, 6.Younes Arjhang, 7.Maryam Mohseni, 8.Mohammad Ashrafi, 9.Laleh Mohammadi, 10.Sharif Mohammadi, 11.Afsaneh Azimzadeh, 12.Fatemeh Eqdami, 13.Fatemeh Shah-Nazari, 14.Mohammad Lotfi, 15.Masoud Loqman, 16.Qolamreza Khani, 17.Mansour Hayat-Qeybi, 18.Behnaz Farmanbar, 19.Parvaneh Qasemiyan, 20.Misam Jafarnejhad, 21.Amir Yaqoub-Ali, 22.Kaveh Mozzafari, 23.Jelveh Javaheri, 24.Alireza Saqafi, 25.Mohsen Saqafi, 26.Asadollah Pour-Farhad, 27.Alireza Firouzi, 28.Pourya Pishtazeh, 29.Taha Valizadeh, 30.Homa Ajhdarnia, 31.Hamid Khademi, 32.Eynollah Basiri, 33.Omid Shafiee, 34.Navid Yazdi, 35.Nasrin Alizadeh, 36.Sajjad Sabz-Alipour, 37.Aysan Zarfam, 38.Khoshbakht, 39.Ahmad Davoudi, 40.Mohammad Salimi, 41.Mohammad Ehsani, 42.Saleh Kia-abadi, 43.Hamid Yaqoub-Ali, 44.Sirous Fathi, 45.Maryam Mir-Bahari, 46.Maryam Yaminifar, 47.Mahmoud Hosseini, 48.Homayoun Jaberi, 49.Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, 50.Hamid Malakzadeh, 51.Sadeq Keyvan, 52.Ajhan Poursharifi, 53.Zanyar Ahmadi, 54.Behzad Khabbaz, 55.Mehdi Shandiz-Farahani, 56.Farajollah Saadi, 57.Najmeh Ranjbaran, 58.Ali Moaddab, 59.Saeed Sojoudi, 60.Hamid Qorbani, 61.Yekzad Zanganeh, 62.Asqar Yavari, 63.Qolamreza Rajabi