Date: 3 June 2011
TWO TRADE UNIONISTS RELEASED, TWO STILL HELD
The Union (or Syndicate) of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) was banned after the 1979
Islamic Revolution. Workers resumed the union's activities in 2004, although it is not legally recognized. On 22 December 2005,
police arrested 12 of the union’s leaders at their homes, including Mansour Ossanlu, but quickly released four of them. Other
members were arrested on 25 December 2005 after they went on strike to call for the release of their colleagues. Hundreds more
were arrested during a further strike in January 2006 (see http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE13/002/2006/en and
Reza Shahabi was arrested in June 2010 three days after the arrest of Saeed Torabian, the union’s spokesperson. Held
incommunicado detention for some weeks, he later contacted his family and told them he was being held in Evin Prison, Tehran.
In September, after the authorities announced Reza Shahabi could be released on bail, his family paid the required 600 million
rials (US$50,000) only to have the authorities demand a further sum equivalent to US$100,000. He began a hunger strike on 4
December 2010 in protest at his continued detention. Seven days after starting his hunger strike, Reza Shahabi was hospitalized
as his health deteriorated. Due to his continued poor health, Reza Shahabi ended his hunger strike on 19 December 2010. Reza
Shahabi is believed to still be detained in Evin Prison’s Section 209, which is controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence.
Mansour Ossanlu had been serving a five-year prison sentence in poor conditions in Reja’i Shahr Prison, in Karaj, near Tehran.
He was tried on fresh charges in August 2010 and received another year’s prison sentence, to be added to the five years he was
already serving. His health deteriorated while in prison, exacerbated by poor prison conditions. On 6 May 2011, Mansour
Ossanlu was transferred from Raja’i Shahr Prison, in Karaj, near Tehran to an undisclosed private hospital for treatment of
blocked arteries. He was subsequently returned to Raja’i Shahr Prison on 21 May 2011.
Saeed Torabian and Reza Shahabi were suspended from work, without pay, for approximately four years following the strikes in
2005. They were eventually reinstated after the Court of Administrative Justice investigated their case. This Court is empowered
to investigate complaints against government employees.
Other trade unionists have been arrested or harassed recently, including members of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company
(HTSCC) Trade Union, also not recognized by the government. The union’s Leader, Reza Rakhshan, began serving a six-month
prison sentence on 3 January 2011 imposed by an appeals court for “spreading lies”, after he had been acquitted of this charge
by a lower court, apparently in connection with an article he wrote in December 2009 entitled “We are One Family”, condemning
arrests and harassment of his fellow workers. On 18 November 2010, three members of the Haft Tapeh Trade Union were
sentenced to six months in prison by the Ahvaz Appeals Court. Behrouz Nikoufard, Alireza Sa’eedi and Behrouz Molazadeh were
reportedly convicted of “insulting the Leader”, although none is believed to have begun serving their sentence yet.
Rasoul Bodaghi, a member of Iran Teachers’ Trade Associations (ITTAs), which is affiliated to Education International (EI), held
since September 2009, is currently serving a six year sentence in Raja’i Shahr Prison, in Karaj, near Tehran. He had been
sentenced in August 2010 to one year in prison for “propaganda against the system” and five years in prison for “gathering and
colluding with intent to disturb national security”, both vaguely worded charges. He was also banned from all civil society
activities for five years. Following the fifth day of a hunger strike by several political prisoners in protest of the treatment of
prisoners and conditions inside the prison, including denial of visitation and phone privileges, and other forms of pressure on
political prisoners that began on 22 May 2011, Rasoul Bodaghi was transferred to solitary confinement on 27 May 2011. There
are fears for his health.
In April 2011, three members of Hamadan’s teacher’s union in north-west Iran, Ali Najafi, Mohammad Khani and Saeed
Jahanara, were summoned to court, possibly to face charges of "propaganda against the system".
FU UA: 130/10 Index: MDE 13/053/2011 Issue Date: 03 June 2011