Activists Urge the End of Hunger Strike

22 labor activists wrote an open letter to Reza Shahabi who has been on hunger strike for nearly two weeks to terminate his protest action immediately for his own sake. Shahabi who is a leader of the bus drivers union has been continuously in jail for over two and half years . He went on hunger strike after facing mistreatment by prison wardens at a hospital. The joint letter was signed by Mansour Osaloo, Jafar Azimzadeh, Davoud Razavi, Ali Nejati, Parvin Mohammadi, Sheith Amani, Shapour Ehsanirad, Sharif Saedpanah and 14 others. Below is an Iran Labor Report translation of the letter.

Dear Friend and companion Reza Shahabi, please accept our warmest greetings. The news of prison warden’s ill treatment and threats against you has left us all deeply disturbed and saddened.  The death of the blogger and worker Sattar Beheshti (he was killed while in custody, ILR), is still fresh in our memory. Some officials have talked of more transparency and oversight (to improve prisoner treatment) placed on wardens and guards as a result of the death of a worker. Without any doubt, the death of Sattar Beheshti has been caused by inhumane treatment and unconditional powers and prerogatives of the agents. That was why in recent weeks the public had come to expect a major rectification in the warden-prisoner relations, perhaps a reduction in the agents’ unfettered authorities. However, given the treatment meted out to you, it seems that such expectations were totally misplaced.

With this in mind, we the signators of this letter, while emphasizing our determination to see all the jailed workers and all the seekers of justice in this country freed, reiterate our call for an overhaul of the prison conditions and the way the prisoners are treated as well as your immediate release and hospitalization somewhere outside the prison system.

We hereby pledge to you our esteemed friend and companion that we will not rest content until your demands are fully realized; demands which happen to be those of all workers of Iran.

We extend a hand of gratitude toward you in admiration of your defiance and bravery from a dark corner of your cold cell, keeping in mind that your health takes precedent over all other considerations. Therefore, we wholeheartedly wish that you could end your hunger strike and take the necessary steps to full medical recovery.

Of course we will celebrate your freedom when the time comes for it but this celebration would not make sense if your body is not in a sound and healthy state.


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