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
** 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.