Monday, July 14, 2014

Fears for life of Iranian trade unionist

INTERNATIONAL demands are being renewed for the release of Iranian bus workers' leader Reza Shahabi. The campaign has been given fresh urgency with the news that Shahabi is seriously ill after a hunger strike in prison.

Below are two of the calls going out for Rez Shahabi's freedom.

Free Reza Shahabi now!
Reza Shahabi – an Iranian labour activist member of the executive committee of the VAHED Bus Union - has been on hunger strike for almost 40 days in prison in Iran. According to the latest reports from Tehran, his protest is now having grave physical effects on him and he has become paralysed down the left side of his body.

Shahabi has spent the last four years in prison, accused by the Islamic state in Iran of “gathering information and colluding against state security, spreading propaganda against the system and ‘Moharebeh’” (translated as “enmity against god”). Over the last few years, his state of health has deteriorated markedly. Vindictively however, the authorities have not allowed him access to appropriate medical treatment.

Shahabi is an anti-war, anti-imperialist worker activist. In his defence, Hands Off the People of Iran is joining forces with the veteran labour activist, Ali Pichgah (a former leader of Iran's oil workers’ strike) to call for his immediate, unconditional release.

As a matter of urgency, Reza Shahabi now needs hospital treatment. His life is being endangered by the Iranian authorities’ refusal to allow him proper medical care. We hold the government of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani directly responsible for Reza Shahabi's life. This brave working class leader has taken a stand against capitalist exploitation and oppression in Iran – as well as any attack on the country by the west or Israel - and it is incumbent on all anti-imperialist/anti-war activists to support Shahabi in these extremely difficult days, when he is putting his life on the line for his beliefs.

What you can do:

  • Support the demand of Hopi and Ali Pichgah for the immediate release of Reza Shahabi! Publicise this protest widely!
  • Email your name/your organisation to Hopi at and we will add your details to the protests we are coordinating (please indicate whether personal capacity or not)
  • Invite a speaker from Hopi to a meeting of your organisation to explain our anti-war/anti-imperialist work and the situation of the working people in Iran
  • Write to the European embassy for Iran (notify us if you do):
Ambassade de la Republique Islamique d'Iran
4 avenue d'iena
75116 Paris, France

In solidarity,

Hands Off the People of Iran
Yassamine Mather, Persian contact – 07590 429 226
Mark Fischer, Hopi secretary – 07950 416 922
Hopi, PO Box 54631, London N16 8YE,


Posted by: Hands Off the People of Iran <>





Iran: Free jailed trade union leader Reza Shahabi now

In partnership with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), a global union federation representing some 4.5 million transport workers in around 700 unions in over 150 countries worldwide.

Reza Shahabi, treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, has been in custody in Iran since June 2010 on charges that result solely from the legitimate representation of his union members. Reza Shahabi is suffering from a number of health problems, which appear to result from the brutal treatment he received when he was arrested. Unions and other organisations, including the ITF and Amnesty International, have made numerous appeals for his freedom, and for him to receive the medical attention he needs. The ILO has stated that it, 'Urges the Government to secure without further delay Mr Shahabi’s parole, pardon and immediate release from prison, the dropping of any remaining charges.' Tell the government that no worker should be imprisoned for his or her trade union activities, much less be treated in a way which amounts to deliberate torture, and demand that Shahabi is released immediately and unconditionally from prison.

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