Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Iran trade unionist survives prison attacks. 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:

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