Jailed Unionist Appeals to French Comrades
Letter addressed to French trade unionists by Shahrokh Zamani
Greetings. I am sending to you this letter from the Tabriz Central Prison. I am a member of Tehran’s Organizing Committee for Construction Painting, and Decorations Union. I was arrested by the Intelligence Ministry agents on September 6, 2011. I have endured four unremitting months of threats, torture and duress. I went on a hunger strike lasting 32 days. They have sentenced me to 11 years in jail for the crime of organizing painters in a trade union. I am now serving the sentence in a cell for common embezzlers at Tabriz prison.
Through hard work and sacrifice, you have been able to form unions. You can now defend your rights. In Iran it is a different story. They have thwarted our efforts at every stage. Arrest and imprisonment awaits all those who think of forming a union. The government is signatory to international covenants guaranteeing union rights but routinely ignores its obligations. In one day, hundreds of bus drivers in Tehran were detained for going on strike.
I could recite the names of hundreds of labor activists who have been persecuted in recent years. If you find it necessary, you can ask other labor activists who are fortunately free at the moment in Iran and to prepare for you a complete list of the workers jailed, arrested, and prosecuted. Then, you will see how thousands of workers have been fired, persecuted, sentenced, jailed, and executed in Iran under the rule of the Islamic Republic.
Then you will see that we workers in Iran do not have any rights and the Islamic Republic does not abide by international obligations and even its own laws.
I am asking you to:
1. Choose representatives amongst yourselves to research into the prosecution of workers by the Islamic Republic so you will see to the depth of the catastrophe.
2. Choose representatives amongst yourselves to research into the Workers House which has been an accomplice to the police and an instrument of suppression and deception in the last 33 years. After finding the real truth about the Workers House, severe your ties with it and ask all international worker organizations to stop Workers House and its representatives to masquerade as the representative of the Iranian workers in international gatherings.
3. After necessary research, find out about the repression of the unions and workers organizations, put pressure on the Iranian government to follow through its obligations regarding workers’ rights.
4. If possible, find me lawyers who can submit my complaints for torture and for confinement and imprisonment without any evidence to competent judicial authorities.
5. In the end, I ask you, once you found the truth about workers’ conditions and how activists are rotting in Iran’s jails, to help us win our freedom.
Where in the world an 11 year jail term has been handed down to labor activists for attempting to form a union?
This is a partial list of the name of the workers who have been persecuted which I have committed to memory:
Mansour Osaloo, Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi, Saeed Torabian, Davood Razavi, Ebrahim Gohari, Gholamreza Gholamhosseini, Homayoun Jabbari, Gholamreza Khani, Morteza Komsari, Ali Akbari, Salimi, etc. from the bus drivers union; Ebrahim Madadi and Reza Shahabi being in prison at this moment. Reza Rakhshan, Fereidoun Nikoufar, Ghorban Alipour, Jalil Ahmadi, Mohammad Heidari, Ali Nejati from the sugar cane workers union; Ali Nejati currently serving his third term in prison. Ayat Niafar, Saeed Youzi, Mohammad Ashrafi, Reza Aghdasi, Zahra Khazai, Mohammad Jarrahi, Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Farhad Pour, Mohammad Jarrahi and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh with Pursuing Committee to Form Workers Organizations in Iran; Behnam Ebrahimzadeh currently being in Evin prison and Mohammad Jarrahi in Tabriz prison. Ghaleb Hosseini, Yadollah Ghotbi, Mohammad Salehi, Hossein Moradi, Vafa Ghaderi, Behzad Sohrabi, Behrouz Khabaz, Mohsen Hakimi, Pedram Nasrollahi, Kourosh Bakhshandeh, Abdolrahman Ebrahimzadeh, Isa Ebrahimzadeh with the Coordinating Committee. Foad Keikhosravi, Jafar Azimzadeh, Shapour Ehsani Rad, Khalil Karimi, Sharif Saed panah, Sheith Amani, and Sadigh Karimi with the Free Union of Iranian Workers; Sheith Amani and Sadigh Karimi currently being in jail. Fariborz Rais Dana, Alireza Saghafi, Mohsen Saghafi, Haleh Safarzadeh, Naser Zarafshan, and Ali Akhavan, with Workers Rights Defenders Center, Ali Akhavan currently being in jail. Yousef Mehrpouya, Jamshid Asgarian, Ali Hashempour, Heidar Alirezai, Gholamreza Rahmani, Alireza Alirezai, Mojtaba Sharifi, Hossein Sarshoumi, Behzad Bagheri, and Alireza Riahi are among the 11 Isfahan steel workers who are currently in jail. Javanmir Moradi and Faramarz Ghorbani with Kermanshah Metal and Electrical Syndicate. 16 workers belonging to the Inaugural Committee of Mechanical and Metal Workers Syndicate with 150 arrested during the 2009 May Day event. Reza Dehghan and Saleh Kiamary and me with the Organizing Committee of Construction, Paint and Decorative Union.
Long live international labor solidarity
Salutes to the French trade union movement
Member of the Organizing Committee of Construction Paint and Decoration Union in Iran