Iran trade unionist survives prison attacks.
IRANIAN bus workers' leader Mansour Osanloo has survived repeated attacks in prison in recent days, but is still under threat, according to reports smuggled out to democratic rights campaigners.
Mansour, the president of the Executive Committee at Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC), has been imprisoned three times. Osanloo has just come out of a 1-week solitary confinement. His latest arrest came in July 2009 and he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for a"activities against national security". He was recently in solitary confinement, only being released after protests from the International Transport Workers Federation.
According to one report, the trade union leader was attacked from behind by an inmate who attempted to stab him, while he was talking to two fellow inmates in the prison courtyard. Osanloo was saved and taken away by his friends’ swift reaction.
The attack happened in front of a prison guard called Hasanpour, and another individual, Moradi, who is the head of inmates in ward 4. Prison guards at first did not react to the attack but disarmed the attacker after other political prisoners who were present at the scene protested the guards’ inaction. The attacker continued to charge Osanloo even after he was disarmed and threatened to kill him later.
On Friday night, Osanloo was in his cell when the same attacker, prisoner Mohammad Hosseini charged towards him with a knife, but was stopped by other prisoners. Then the following morning as he was returning to the prison from Protection and Information Services, Hosseini punched him in the face as the prison guards were watching. Other prisoners and guards showed no reaction to this and tolerated the abuse.
Mansour Osanloo has filed many complaints to the prison authorities regarding this matter. Many other prisoners and even the prison guards present at the scene have stepped forward as witnesses, but so far nothing has been done to prevent the assailant from further attacks, and he continues to strike and threaten to kill Mansour.
The threats and attacks began as soon as Mansour Osanloo was released from solitary.
Mansour has learned from an official that his assailant Hosseini is a former Pasdar (a member of Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) who is charged with murdering his wife and another person. Because he is from a family of "martyrs and veterans", nothing can be done about him. Mahmoud Moghanian who is in charge of Ward 4 of Gohardasht prison in Karaj, has given Hosseini some duties inside the prison, and he has complete freedom to do as he wishes. He is allowed to enter the offices of Ali Haj Kazemi, Director, and Ali Mohammadi, Assistant Director of the prison. He is also in constant contact with Kermani, Information Director, and Faraji, Information Assistant Director of the prison. Furthermore, every time he returns from their offices, he continues his attacks more viciously.
These kinds of attacks against political prisoners in Gohardasht started a few weeks ago. Initially prison guards raided cells, violently beating the prisoners and destroying their valuables. Attacks increased prior to February 11, when some political prisoners such as Mansour Osanloo and Arzhang Davoudi were transferred to solitary confinement. From then on, death threats against Osanloo continue to grow. Mansour suffers from heart conditions, and friends fear that violent harassment and insecurity puts his life at risk. They strongly suspect that it is the Intelligence Services who are behind the attacks.
Rights campaigners are urging international organisations and trade unionists to demand guarantees for Mansour Osanloo's safety, and campaign for the release of this union leader and all political prisoners.
February 27, 2010
This report has been sent to the following organizations:
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- International Labour Organisation
- Amnesty International
On March 5th six members of the Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) Manchester branch will be walking the Bogle, a fifty six mile walk round Manchester. We are walking to raise money for the charity Workers' Fund Iran, which was set up in December 2005 with the aim to reduce and relieve poverty amongst Iranian workers (both employed and unemployed) who are victims of the economic policies of the Iranian regime, including mass non-payment of wages. The charity is not aligned to any political organisation.
Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution. We hope the funds will stop families sending their children to the streets as beggars or peddlers and selling their body parts, which is a common practice at the moment. In Iran, hundreds of thousands of workers are being consigned to poverty by the oppressive Iranian state. Practical solidarity is one of the greatest things we can do for Iranian workers; it helps the revolutionary struggle against the Islamic Republic continue. Give generously! We are hoping to raise over £300 pounds for the charity. You can donate by going to our Charity Choice page. It's a secure and ethical way to donate over the web.