We send you our season’s greetings as many countries will be celebrating Christmas and the New Year.
At the same time, we would also like to remind you that several times in the past, the Iranian authorities have attacked the independent workers organisations during this period. We have responded to such cowardly acts each time and would wish to ask you to be on the watch again as the Western world cools off for the festive season.
As the ITF wrote to the Iranian President recently, six leaders and activists from its affiliate, Vahed Syndicate are in jail at present. It includes Reza Shahabi who was on hunger strike to protest the delay of his release from prison. His family has already paid for the bail as requested by the authorities a long time ago. His case will now be heard at the court on 26 December but nothing is certain that he will be released that day.
At Haft Tapeh, the union president Reza Rakhshan was sentenced to 6 months in prison on December 1 and other key union activists have also been given similar prison sentences recently.
Equally important is the case of Abdolreza Ghanbari whose life is in danger. Here is a short report of Ghanbari.
“Ghanbari is a school teacher in Pakdasht Varamin and an online professor of the Payam e Nour University. He was arrested at his home in Pakdasht on 4 January 2010. He was charged with ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity towards God) for allegedly receiving emails from an armed opposition group that he does not belong to. His subsequent death sentence was confirmed by Tehran’s Appeal Court, Branch 36. In detention at the Evin Prison, Ghanbari has been interrogated for 25 days in a row under duress. In 2007, he was also detained for 120 days and sentenced to a six-month suspension from teaching and exiled from Sari to Pakdasht”.
There are many other cases of workers and journalists under attack by the authorities in Iran and we are hoping to give you a fuller report in the new year.
In the meantime, for those who are having their vacations, we do hope that you enjoy your leave but please if everyone could be reminded of possible oppression in Iran towards independent workers movement during this period, we would appreciate it.
yours in solidarity, Mac Urata