Free Them Now News Release
Behnam must be released immediately
Based on recent news, Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh – one of the well-known and popular labor leaders – was sentenced to another seven years, 10 months and 15 days imprisonment at the Islamic Republic’s appeals court. On December 29, 2014, Judge Salavati – one of the criminal judges of the Islamic Republic – had sentenced Behnam to 9 years and 4 months imprisonment. The sentencing included seven and half years based on unreal charges and manmade accusations such as association and planning for the purpose of committing a crime against national security and relations with the Mujahedin, 17 months for propaganda against the regime, relations with Ahmad Shahid and possession of a satelite system. In a letter, Behnam contested this criminal verdict, denied the charges and any connections with the Mujahedin. Following this contest, the Appeals Court issued the new criminal verdict for Behnam.
Behnam has been in prison since June 12, 2010and has served five years of his original sentence. He is a labor and children rights activist. He has also been the voice of humanity and freedom in prison. That is why they have not released him from prison and have tried and sentenced him again, based on delusional charges. On behalf of Behnam and his family, we should have a worldwide protest against this criminal decision of the Islamic Republic. We should support him and his family any way we can.
Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh is currently in ward 2 of Rajai-Shahr prison, known as Dar-ol-Quran (the home of Quran). This is a ward for prisoners of conscience and also dangerous criminals. Placing him next to common criminals is always a kind of torture and a threat to his life.
Behnam is in very poor physical condition. He suffers from arthritis in the neck area, severe back pain, kidney disease and gum disease. While his health has declined due to the tortures and pressures during his imprisonment, he is deprived of receiving medical care. To receive anything in this ward one must pay. He even has to pay for his dental care and this is an increased pressure on him. When he suffers from pain he gets transferred to the prison clinic, which lacks any proper medical facilities. Despite Behnam’s need for immediate medical attention, the prison officials refuse to transfer him to a hospital outside the prison system.
Despite all these pressures, Behnam has insisted on the legitimacy of his struggle and demands his rights in prison. One of his immediate demands is to be transferred to the ward for political prisoners and a prison furlough to spend time with his family. This last one is particularly significant since (as reported before) his son, Nima is suffering from cancer and his wife and son are also being tortured because of his imprisonment.
Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh is a well-known symbolic figure in prison. He needs the highest form of worldwide support. We expect all humanitarian organizations and labor unions to support him. We expect them to pressure the Islamic Republic and demand a commute of his sentence and his release from prison. These organizations should also demand the release of all labor and political prisoners and demand a stop to threats and summons of all labor activists and leaders. We eagerly await your response and reaction to this request. Please support us in gaining freedom for Behnam Ebrahim-Zadeh and labor activists any way you can.
Free Them Now
Shahla Daneshfar, Daneshfar2@gmail.com
Mehran Mahbobi, firstname.lastname@example.org