Iran: Continuing Harassment and Detention of Teachers Condemned
Education International has once again raised its concerns about the harassment and intimidation of teacher trade unionists with the Iranian authorities.
Pressure on activists belonging to the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (ITTA), who are affiliated to EI’s member organisation, the Coordinating Council of ITTAs, has intensified over recent months and the group has been prevented from holding meetings.
EI has written to the Iranian authorities calling on the government to stop state pressure on trade unions and to release detained teacher activists immediately, as well as to formally acknowledge the legitimacy of the Coordinating Council of ITTAs.
EI has also raised particular concern about the death penalty that has been pronounced against Abdolreza Ghanbari, and the continuing detention of several other teacher unionists.
Abdolreza Ghanbari, a school teacher in Pakdasht Varamin and online professor of Payam e Nour University, was arrested at his home in Pakdasht on 4 January, 2010. He was charged with Moharebeh (enmity towards God) for receiving unsolicited emails from an armed opposition group to which he does not belong. In detention at the notorious Evin Prison, Ghanbari has been interrogated for 25 days in a row under duress. In 2007, Abdolreza was detained for 120 days and sentenced to a six-month suspension from teaching and exiled from Sari to Pakdasht. His recent death sentence has been confirmed by Tehran’s Appeal Court, Branch 36.
Esmael Abdi, a school teacher member of the Iranian Teachers’ Association of Tehran, was arrested on 19 May, 2010. Four officials from the Ministry of Intelligence searched his house and took his computer, notebook and some literature. They cut the wire of his landline phone and told Esmael’s partner to keep his detention a secret. He remains in detention in an unknown location.
According to his relatives, his arrest is the consequence of an interview he gave to foreign media on National Teachers’ Day.
Rasoul Bodaghi is another member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran who is in detention. He was transferred from the Evin Prison to Rajaieshahr Prison in Karaj on 10 May, 2010, and was reportedly beaten very severely by two prison officers on 26 May, 2010. This experience has provoked a dramatic deterioration in his health, and there is still no report of when his trial might take place.
Hashem Khastar is a retired teacher suffering from kidney disease, who has already served more than a third of his prison sentence, but he is still not allowed to go on leave and visit his family. This alone is against the governing rules for prisoners in Iran.
EI and its member organisations are also outraged at the way in which the Iranian judiciary managed the case of the late Iranian teacher unionist, Farzad Kamangar, who was summarily executed on May 9, 2010, without a fair trial and before the Supreme Court had even begun to review his case. Farzad’s execution also took place without his family or lawyer being informed. EI continues to demand that Farzad’s body is returned to his family and that an independent investigation is carried out into the procedural irregularities and allegations of torture that were inflicted upon Farzad during his detention.