Saturday, January 24, 2009

British film director Ken Loach: I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran

Ken LoachBritish
Film and television director

To: info@leader.ir ; dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir ; info@judiciary.ir ; iran@un.int Cc: info@workers-iran.org

Subject: protest letter

I have read the information about Labour activists imprisoned in your country. These words express exactly the outrage of many people at your government's callous disregard for civil liberties. From Ken Loach, Film Director, England.

I am writing to strongly protest against a new wave of arrests and repression of labour activists in Iran. According to the latest news, the current labour activists who are known to be in jails across Iran are as follows:

- Mr. Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company, sentenced to five years imprisonment, incarcerated since July 2007. Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Osanloo has been beaten numerous times by security forces. He has some serious health problems.

- Mr. Afshin Shams, a member of "Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' organizations", a member of the "Committee in Defence of Mahmoud Salehi" and a member of "Caricaturists. He was arrested at his work in city of Aligoodarz on July on July 3, 2008 and later was transferred to Dastgerd prison in Isfahan. On November 1, 2008, he was November 1, 2008. Afshan Shams received his verdict from the court according which he has been sentenced to one year imprisonment. The verdict was given without the presence of Afshin's lawyer.

- Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a 33 year old teacher and union and human rights activist from Kurdistan province. He has been sentenced to death by the Iranian government and has been severely tortured. He has been transferred to Rajayee Shahr Prison since December 25, 2008 and he is kept in Infectious Diseases section of the prison. His lawyer has expressed surprise with this transfer. Despite legal efforts in Iran and international protests, Farzad's execution sentence has not been revoked. For more info please refer o the http://www.labourstart.org/farzad

- Mr. Mohsen Hakimi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organization and a member of the Iranian Writers' Association, was arrested by the plain-clothes security agents near midnight on December 22, 2008 in Tehran. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.

- Mr. Bijan Amiri, who is an auto worker and a member of workers' mountain-climbing board, was arrested by the Iran Khodro Company's security forces on December 22, 2008 in the factory. According to the latest news, he is incarcerated in section 209 of the Evin Prison.
- Mr. Ebrahim Madadi, the vice-president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Mr. Madadi has been arrested a number of times before. The latest arrest took place in the North Branch of the Employment office in Tehran on December 27, 2008. Mr. Molayee, Maddi's lawyer, has told the BBC Persian that Mr. Madadi has been arrested according to a court order issued by division 14 of the Islamic Revolution Court according to which he has been sentenced to three and half years of imprisonment for "acting against the national security" and "propaganda against the system" . However, Mr. Molayee reports that the court order was never given to him or Mr. Madadi, thus they did not have a chance to appeal it. The court claims that they had verbally informed Mr. Madadi about it when he was detained for another case previously. Mr. Madadi had spent about 4 months in prison last year. Mr. Madadi is currently detained in Evin prison.

- Mr. Pedram Nasrolahi, who is a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers' Organizations in Kurdistan, arrested on December 24, 2008.

- Mr. Bakhtiar Rahimi, a labour activist in Kurdistan was arrested on December 23, 2008. Mr. Rahimi had been previously incarcerated and released after a few months.

In addition, many labour activists in Iran are under suspended sentences or await trials and are suspended or expelled from their workplace as the result of their labour activities, including many member of the Vahed Syndicate in Tehran as well as five leaders of the Syndicate of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers' Syndicate who were put on trial on December 20, 2008 and are now awaiting their verdict.

Therefore, I condemn all these arrests and repression of labour activists and organizations in Iran and demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all incarcerated workers. I also ask the Iranian government to respect workers' rights to organize, assemble and strike, put an end to persecution of labour activists and not to interfere in the affairs of independent workers' organizations.

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