Union Leaders Under Attack
Reports from Tehran indicate that union leaders from the bus drivers union are currently being targeted. The group Human Rights and Democracy Activists has reported on the court sessions for two of the Syndicate unionists on charges related to last year’s Mayday gathering. In addition, the syndicate has issued a statement on threats on Osanloo’s life in Karaj prison.
On March 2, Homayoun Jaberi, a 33 years old member of the bus drivers labor syndicate, was called into the revolutionary court on charges stemming from his participation in the 2009 Mayday rally. He was charged with “plots against the security of the system” which he and his lawyer, Khorshidi, rejected. Judge Mohammadi, speaking with a threatening tone, expressed remorse for not having given Mansour Osanloo a heavier sentence.
Jaberi was arrested last year before Mayday even started. He was taken to jail and held there for three weeks. This move comes ten months after the event and appears to be related to government schemes against this year’s Mayday. Mr. Jaberi has been barred from his job at the Tehran Vahed Bus company where he has been denied wages and pension benefits. Following multiple petitions, he successfully won a legal battle that allowed him to return to work, however, the company security, which works in tandem with the Intelligence Ministry, continues to obstruct his return. Jaberi spent some time in ward 209 of the notorious Evin prison in 2003 during the bus drivers strikes. He also spent a month in jail in 2007 for attending an event in Osanloo’s house in his support.
Similarly, on February 26, another syndicate member, Gholam Reza Khani was called to the court on the charges related to the same May 1 event. His court date was postponed.
Following news of a string of assaults by guards in Karaj prison on Mansour Osanloo, the Bus Syndicate Union has issued this statement:
We condemn the perilous and difficult conditions Mansour Osaloo is held under!
According to the latest news reached to us from his family, Osaloo who has been transferred to Karaj Rejai-Shahr jail for unspecified reasons is incarcerated in appalling and degrading conditions.
This past week, one of the inmates has made an attempt on his life which has luckily been averted by the vigilance of his fellow-inmates. This, however, was not the only instance where the same individual engaged in threats and taunts. This has caused worries for the family, Vahed Syndicate members, and the Iranian workers community in general.
Tehran and Municipality Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate while condemning these acts against those imprisoned, calls for legal protections and the prosecution of the culprits.
Mansour Osaloo has been sentenced to five years in prison and he is now serving his sentence in full at Karaj Rejai Shahr; a fact that has no precedent for most prisoners of conscience in Iran.
Tehran and Municipality Vahed Bus Workers Syndicate