ITF secretary general voices ‘concern’ over imprisoned union leaders’ health


GVF — The general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, David Cockroft, has written to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei to alert him to the deteriorating health of leading union leaders Mansour Osanloo and Reza Shahabi, and to once again urge immediate treatment and release for the two unjustly imprisoned trade unionists.

In a recent interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Parvaneh Osanloo, Osanloo’s wife, described her husband’s deteriorating health in prison and the refusal of prison officials to transfer him to a hospital. “His arteries are clogged again and his situation is worsening everyday. Prison doctors said that he must have an operation as soon as possible. We showed Mansour’s medical documents to doctors outside the prison and we talked to the authorities, too. If they cooperate, he must be transferred outside the prison for surgery or at least for angiography as soon as possible,” she said.

Osanloo, a union leader with the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, is currently being held at Shahid Rajaee Prison in Karaj. Human rights sources say he was recently transferred to a hospital coronary care unit for his heart condition in 2008, where none of his family members were allowed to visit him. He was arrested by security forces on 10 July 2007 near his home and was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “acting against national security,” and “propagating against the regime.”


According to the federation’s official website, the letter written by ITF secretary general David Cockroft is as follows:

On behalf of 4.6 million transport workers and their trade union organisations around the world, I am writing to you to voice our grave concern over the recent deterioration in the health of Mansour Osanloo and Reza Shahabi. The former is the President and the latter is the Treasurer of our Iranian affiliated union the Vahed Syndicate, and both are currently in prison for their trade union activities.

We believe that Mansour Osanloo is again suffering from serious heart problems and was taken to a hospital on the 1st of May. We are informed that his doctors have advised that surgery is urgently needed. Regarding Reza Shahabi, we note that he has been experiencing repeated, unexplained nosebleeds, but again, no adequate medical treatment has been given, even though he has been appealing for this for some time now. Unsurprisingly both his family and colleagues are deeply concerned.

In a response to the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO in May last year, the Iranian government stated that Mansour Osanloo would soon be pardoned. However, this promise has never been fulfilled. In the meantime, the ITF, together with its allies in international trade union and human rights organisations, have been demanding the release of all imprisoned trade unionists, including Mansour Osanloo, Reza Shahabi and Ebrahim Madadi. Major trade unions have granted honorary membership to Mansour Osanloo and more unions are planning such an award.

We therefore once again strongly urge your office to provide adequate medical treatment to Mansour Osanloo and Reza Shahabi without any delay, preparatory to their release from imprisonment.



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