Labour activist Reza Shahabi who was arrested 18 months ago has been on hunger strike since 22 days ago in protest against his tenuous situation in prison. As a result, his health has rapidly deteriorated and he is at risk of paralysis. According to news published by the Committee to Free Reza Shahabi, he was to be transferred to the hospital on Sunday; instead, he was sent to cell 350 in Evin prison.

Shahabi was the treasurer of the Sherkat-e Vahed bus drivers’ union. All the union’s officers have been prosecuted by the Islamic regime in Iran for organising strikes more than six years ago.

Shahabi was suspended from work six years ago for his participation in the strikes. Just weeks before his latest arrest, he had won a legal battle to be allowed back to work. Moreover, even though his family had managed to raise a heavy bail to obtain his release, the regime refused to release him.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran has issued a press release calling on people in Iran and internationally to support him and demand his release. It’s also called on Reza to stop his hunger strike, and instead rely on public support to gain his release.

Reza Shahabi must be freed now.

By the way, here is some information on a campaign that has started in his defence – sent in by Shahla Daneshfar:

Labor Activist Reza Shahabi’s Life is in Danger – Urgent Worldwide Action Needed

To labor unions worldwide:

Reza Shahabi, a member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, has been on hunger strike for twenty days. His life is in danger. Doctors have stated that he is at risk for paralysis, and his case has drawn strong international support. We must act quickly to save him.

This is the second time he has gone on hunger strike in protest of his detention. Reza Shahabi has been in jail for 18 months since June 12, 2010. He was set a $60,000 bail for his release, however, the regime has refused to release him .

According to news published by the Committee to Free Reza Shahabi, he was to be transferred to the hospital today, 11 December 2011. Instead, he was sent to cell 350 in Evin prison.

Hand in hand with Reza Shahabi, his family, and the Committee to Free Reza Shahabi, we urge you to create the necessary pressure to free Reza from prison. Continuing this hunger strike poses a great risk to Reza’s life. With a vast protest against the Islamic Republic, we can make him feel we are beside him so he can stop his hunger strike.

Reza Shahabi is in prison for his activities to establish the Syndicate and the struggle for their rights in 2006. We call international labor unions to protest against the Islamic Republic’s crimes against Reza Shahabi and political prisoners in Iran. The Islamic Republic is responsible for Reza Shahabi’s survival and his precarious health condition today.

Such a criminal act against political prisoners in Iran should be met with a prompt response in the form of the most severe worldwide protest action possible.

Support Reza Shahabi and the committee established in his defence by your protest and condemnation of Islamic Republic of Iran in any way possible.

These activists join a number of other trade unionists already in jail or about to be jailed:

• Reza Shahabi and Ebrahim Madadi (jailed leaders of Tehran’s bus workers’ union)
• Behnam Ebrahimzadeh (jailed member of the Follow-up Committee to Build Free Labour Organisations)
• Ali Nejati (leader of Haft Tapeh sugar cane workers’ union, about to begin a one-year sentence for union activity)
• Rasoul Bodaghi (member of Teachers’ Trade Association, sentenced to 6 years in jail for union activity)
• Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi, members of the workers’ group the Follow-up Committee to Build Free Labour Organisations in Iran, were sentenced to 11 and 5 years in prison, respectively

We call on trade unions and human rights organisations around the world to join us in condemning these attacks and calling for the immediate release of all jailed workers and political prisoners in Iran.

Free Them Now! (Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran)

Tel: Shahla Daneshfar 0044 (0) 7779 898968 Bahram Soroush 0044 (0) 7852 338334

11 December 2011


1 Comment

  1. Reading this I cannot help but refer back to the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson during the recent strike in Britain.

    His comments; ‘Strikers should be taken outside and shot in front of their families’ were branded by many as a quip that shouldn’t have been taken seriously.

    But, when we read stories such as this, a reminder occurs.

    Not all people have the freedom of assembly, the right to strike and if they do, the consequences are severe.

    I wish Reza shahabi and other political prisoners all the best and I hope that Clarkson apologists realise one thing when stories such as this come forward;

    What was considered a ‘quip’ by a self serving TV presenter here, is the grim reality of others elsewhere.

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