There must be widespread support for jailed workers in Iran

This week’s Bread and Roses is on the labour movement in Iran and courageous jailed workers there.
With Maryam Namazie, Fariborz Pooya, and Bahram Soroush
Director: Reza Moradi; Programme Consultant: Poone Ravi

کارگران زندانى بايد بيشترين همبستکى جهانى را با خود داشته باشند
۱۳ اوت ۲۰۱۴
مصاحبه با شهلا دانشفر٬ هماهنگ کننده کمپین برای آزادی کارگران زندانی

There must be widespread support for jailed workers in Iran
12 August 2014
Interview with Shahla Daneshfar, Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

2 August: Campaign for the release of Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and Shahrokh Zamani

freetheSolidarity pickets have been organised in Sydney, London, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Berlin, Koln, Oslo, Toronto and Gothenburg.

Reza Shahabi, a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company (Vahed), has been jailed for his part in the great bus workers’ strike in 2006 and in forming the bus workers’ union.

In early June 2014 Shahabi began a hunger strike in protest against his transfer to Rajaee Shahr Prison and demanded to be admitted to hospital for urgent medical care and treatment. After 43 days hunger strike and a global campaign in support of Reza, he was transferred to hospital and the prison authorities have agreed to his demands.

Shahrokh Zamani, another leading worker activist in Iran is under constant threat and pressure in Rajaee Shahr prison, have written a letter to protest their imprisonment.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities. Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Labour Organisations in Iran and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration.

We call on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world and all those appalled by the horrific human rights abuse in Iran to support Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Shahrokh Zamani and all jailed workers in Iran. All jailed trade unionists and political prisoners must be freed immediately and unconditionally!

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

July 12: International Day of Solidarity with Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

freethemnowJoin the international day of solidarity with jailed labour activists in Iran, in particular Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh who need urgent medical care.

You can download the poster of the jailed workers, take a photo of yourself holding the poster and send it to Fariborz Pooya (fariborz_pooya@yahoo.co.uk) to publicise on New Channel TV.

Join us. Together we must help save their lives.

Urgent Action: Reza Shahabi is dying and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh needs urgent medical care

Labour activist Reza Shahabi, a member of the Executive Committee of Tehran Vahed Bus Company Workers’ Union has been on hunger strike since June 1st in protest to his being transferred to the notorious Rejai-Shahr prison and the consequent denial of his sick leave to receive medical treatment. Reza Shahabi’s FTNOW1health has been deteriorating with severe weight loss; he has loss of more than 12 kilograms.

Shahrokh Zamani, another labour activist and Union member who is in the same prison ward has called for an international campaign in support of Reza Shahabi.

Meanwhile, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, a leading workers’ right activist who was kept in solitary confinement in ward 209 of the notorious Evin prison from May 3 to June 29 was allowed to meet his family after pressure; however on the same night, the intelligence services of the Islamic regime of Iran raided his home and interrogated his 15 year old son Nima, who suffers from leukemia and has been under treatment. They furthermore confiscated the child’s PC and other documents. Ebrahimzadeh also suffers from health problems due to tortures inflicted by the regime.

In response to Shahrokh Zamani’s urgent call for action and to protest against the life-threatening situation of Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, we are calling for an international day of action in their support.

We call on all Trade unions and labour organisations, human rights bodies and the public to support this campaign with every means possible.

With this campaign and our support, let us assure Reza Shahabi that we will make sure he is not forgotten and call upon him to end his hunger strike.

Reza Shahabi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh must be immediately and unconditionally released and must receive immediate medical treatment. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh must be allowed to be by the side of his ill child.

Here is our Bread and Roses video explaining the situation:

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Iran: jailed labour activist moved to interrogation unit of prison

Behnam and Nima EbrahimzadehBehnam Ebrahimzadeh, who has been in prison since June 2010 on a five-year sentence for union activities, has been moved to Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Ward 209 is the interrogation unit of the prison, run by the Ministry of Intelligence, where torture and maltreatment is routinely practised as part of the interrogations.

Ebrahimzadeh is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Organisations and a campaigner for children’s rights. He has been subjected to severe tortures during his incarceration. Also, during a recent assault on political prisoners in Ward 350, he was among the prisoners who were severely beaten up and injured.

It should also be noted that Mr Ebrahimzadeh’s 15-year old son is ill with leukaemia, a fact that has added to his psychological traumas.

Given the fact that Ebrahimzadeh has now been transferred to the interrogation ward of the prison, there are growing concerns for his wellbeing. We urge labour organisations and human rights groups around the world to condemn the continued detention of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com
bahram.soroush@gmail.com

I Insist

In a letter, Iranian political prisoner Behnam Ebrahimzadeh insists on being released to see his severely sick child stricken with cancer in hospital. Nine other political prisoners have also written a statement calling for pressure to be exerted on the Islamic regime in Iran to release Behnam.

See both letters below:

Letter from Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Political Prisoner, Ward 35, Evin Prison
January 2013

I was putting up with the prison pain, but suddenly I was stricken with grief.

I don’t know when it was, maybe eight to nine days ago, when I heard that my only child, my 13-year old Nima, already overcome by the pain of separation from his father and all kinds of deprivation, has been admitted to Mahak Hospital, a hospital for children with cancer; a bitter experience and a shocking moment, which have pierced deep into my soul.

I don’t know about the condition of my darling child. My wife doesn’t clearly tell me, but she hopes that I would soon be given leave to come and see them. I have therefore asked for leave, which if granted would certainly have a great impact on me and my sick child. This is the only moment in the life of a father, which he doesn’t want to lose under any circumstances. So, thanks to my friends, I have come up with a property surety, and like in the past when I have asked for things, I have been given a favourable answer. But maybe this time too it will turn out to be just words.

Under these circumstances, with thousands of thoughts in my mind about my son Nima, remembering the empty promises of those in charge has turned my suffering into an excruciating pain. I have to be at the side of my sick child. This is my right. I am a political prisoner, whose anguish over his son’s illness has made everything look dark. There are several courses of action open to me, one of which is to go on a dry hunger strike. Maybe I’ll get an answer that way.

I want to choose patience and endurance, while resisting and putting pressure; however, anything can happen. First, deprivation from food, leave, proper visits, telephone, medical care, etc., and now deprivation from the right to be at the side of my sick child is what is going to break me down.

I insist on my demand for leave to visit my child; at the same time, I appeal to everyone to support the rights of my child and to help his recovery. Who would have thought that someone who for years has fought for children’s and workers’ rights, would one day be in prison for his beliefs and defence of children, and then hear that groups of compassionate people, friends and comrades are visiting his sick child, but he himself isn’t able to stroke the feverish head of his child?

I will defy and resist, as I have done up to now, but who is answerable for all this injustice and suffering? Who is responsible for the condition that my child Nima is in? [Read more…]