Iran: Sentencing of Union board member and mass arrests of unionists

New information:

On July 3, 2012, it was reported that Branch 36 of the Appeals Court in Tehran had informed Mr. Reza Shahabi’s lawyer that his first instance sentence of six-year imprisonment, five years of ban on union activities and 70 million rials cash fine had been upheld on appeal. This information was communicated to him only one month after receiving the bill of defence filed by the same lawyer to object the first instance sentence. Mr. Shahabi remains currently detained in Section 350 of Evin Prison.

In addition, on June 15 2012, a large number of armed security agents attacked the 6th General Assembly of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations (CCHFW)1, fired shots, intimidated the neighbours and arrested more than 60 people participating in the meeting, including a large number of members of the Coordinating Committee and some other unionists.

In a letter dated March 5, 2012, the organisers had asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for a meeting place to hold their General Assembly, but the ministry had rejected their request on March 7, 2012. They had thus no other choice but to hold their meeting in a private house. Most of the detainees were released on bail on the same day or on subsequent days.

Two persons still remain in detention to date: they are Mr. Jalil Mohammadi and Mr. Alireza Asgari. Both are detained in Rajaishahr prison, Karaj.

Furthermore, on July 1, 2012, Mr. Pedram Nasrollahi, another member of the CCHFW, was tried in relation with his union activities by the Islamic Revolution Court in the city of Sanandaj. Mr. Nasrollahi had been detained on March 8, 2012 and released on bail on April 24, 2012. He was reportedly tried for membership in the CCHFW and his union activities. He had previously spent three months and 15 days in detention after an arrest in July 2008, and had been sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment in August 2010 on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state”.

Background information:

On April 14, 2012, the lawyer of Mr. Reza Shahabi was informed that his client had been sentenced to six years in prison in first instance by Judge Abolghassem Salavati, of Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolution Court. Mr. Shahabi was convicted under charges of “propaganda against the regime” (one-year imprisonment) and “conspiracy against the national security” (five-year imprisonment). He was also banned from engaging in union activities for five years. Furthermore, he was condemned to a 70 million-rial fine (about 3,000 euros). In addition, although Mr. Shahabi’s state of health has deteriorated in custody, prison authorities have not granted him appropriate medical treatment.

In addition, several unionists are currently in detention or serving prison sentences for their union activities, including Messrs Ali NejatiShahrokh ZamaniMohammad JarrahiBehnam EbrahimzadehRassoul BodaghiMohammad HosseiniMehdi Farahi Shandiz, and Ali Akhavan. Many other unionists are free on bail, after various periods of detention and awaiting trial.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

i. Release immediately and unconditionally those detained, as their detention only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the human rights defenders mentioned above as well as all human rights defenders and their families in Iran;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against the human rights defenders mentioned above and more generally against all human rights defenders in Iran;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
its article 5.b, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, (…) to form, join and participate in non-governmental organizations, associations or groups”;
its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Source: Fidh

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