Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Free all Iranian trade unionists! Stop harassment of families!

IRANIAN bus workers' leader Mansour Osanloo is to be released from prison, the authorities say. Osanloo has been detained on and off since 2005, when he led an action by Tehran bus drivers who refused to collect fares, in order to press their demands on the bus company.

There have been fears for his eyesight and overall health, partly as a result of rough treatment when he was first arrested and more recent attacks in prison, coupled with poor medical care. There has also been reported harassment of Osanloo family members.

The International Trade Union Confederation and the
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have written to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisting that the authorities fulfill their promise to release Mansour Osanloo, and calling on them to free all the other 52 trade unionists imprisoned in the country for their activities in defence of workers’ rights.

A report of the International Labour Organisation’s Committee on Freedom of Association states that “the (ILO) Committee welcomes the efforts by the (Iranian) Minister of Labour and Social Affairs to obtain the granting of a pardon for Mr. Osanloo. Noting further that the Head of the Judiciary has accepted the Minister’s request for such a pardon, the Committee expects that these developments will lead to Mr. Osanloo’s imminent release from prison.”

“The authorities must keep their promise to pardon and release Mansour Osanloo, and free the other 52 trade unionists who are being kept in prison in flagrant violation of fundamental rights enshrined in ILO Conventions. Only then can the government begin to redress Iran’s appalling record of violating fundamental workers’ rights,” said newly-elected ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

See the letter to President Ahmadinejad

See also ITF website

Mansour Osanloo's wife Parvaneh Osanloo has reported on an incident on June 23 when her daughter-in-law, Zoya Samadi. was abducted and detained by security forces and beaten and abused during interrogations. She was threatened before being released under a bridge at 10:00 p.m. at night.

“On Wednesday, 23 June 2010, she got off work at 5:30 p.m. She was heading home when at the Tarasht Metro Station, just as she was trying to board the train, some men pulled her hair from behind. She screamed and asked people to help her, telling people that she was Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. But her captors quickly put duct tape on her mouth and blindfolded and transferred her to an unknown location. The forces tied her arms and feet and beat her severely. They told her she had to sign a document, promising that once Osanloo is released, either [his family] would not engage in any activities, or they would have to leave the country and go away. Her mouth was taped and she couldn’t talk, but she refused to sign the document. She told them that her eyes were blindfolded, this document [could be anything, it] could be her death sentence, why should she sign it? They beat her severely and threw her out of the car under the Seyed Khandan Bridge at 9:45 p.m., after removing her blindfold and the tape on her mouth. She got herself to a public phone and called her husband.”

“She is still in shock and is not psychologically stable. We took her to the doctors and they took some X-rays. Fortunately she didn’t have any broken bones, but her orthodontic braces were broken and her gums were damaged. She has a nose bleed and she vomited this morning.”


It has been reported that Zoya Samadi suffered a miscarriage since this attack.

Apparently it was not the first time she had been targeted. Referring to a history of her family’s mistreatment and threats made against them Ms. Osanloo said,

“My daughter-in-law has been threatened for the past year and has been harassed in different ways. We filed complaints with judicial organizations. Unfortunately, they did not investigate at all. We didn’t expect such treatment. My daughter-in-law was summoned to Branch 14 by telephone. She had to go to work, so I went in her place to see the Head of Branch 14. They told me they had not summoned her and knew nothing about it. I asked them then who would call and summon her?

"Last year, someone put a gun to her side on the street, trying to force her into a car. We wrote letters to the Human Rights and Citizen’s Rights Offices, the Director of the Ministry of Justice, and the Prosecutor. But unfortunately, they didn’t even call us in to see what the story was all about. We thought that Mr. Osanloo was serving his time and they would leave his family out of it. They know very well that we are not involved in any activities and we never participate in any gatherings. My daughter-in-law is especially innocent. She only met Mr. Osanloo once on her engagement night. We arranged an engagement party in between two times when Mr. Osanloo was imprisoned, just so he wouldn’t miss his son’s engagement in case he was returned to prison. He was taken back to prison after it. She is an innocent girl who has not even gone to visit Mr. Osanloo. Only sometimes when he calls from the prison, he asks after her health.”

Regarding news about her husband’s possible release, Parvaneh Osanloo said,

“We have also heard that the Minister of Labor said Mr. Osanloo will be released. We don’t know whether his release is in the hands of the Head of the Judiciary or the Minister of Labor, but right now there is no news of his release. He knows nothing about this nor does his family. He was told he was going to court yesterday, but he was returned to his cell instead. He was transferred to another ward for five days a while back. Currently he is in Ward 3, Hall 8. He has needed an eye examination for a long time. He had bypass heart surgery and needs to have an angiogram. Even physicians at the Medical Examiner’s office wrote this in his file, mentioning that he needs an M.R.I. and angiograms and other medical procedures.”


The execution of teacher Farzad Kamangar and the continued mistreatment of labor activists including Mansour Osanloo, recently compelled the International Labor Organization (ILO) to add a special paragraph in its Iran report highlighting the critical situation of the government’s attitude towards labor and the need for a special review. If a country remains in this stage, the ILO is authorized to forward Iran’s case to the UN General Assembly in order for resolutions to be passed. Responding to the overwhelming objections of participants during the June ILO session, Iran’s representative reported that Iran’s Labor Minister asked the Head of the Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, for clemency for Mr. Osanloo. However, not only was Osanloo not released, but increased pressure was placed on his family.


The Tehran bus workers' unio0n yesterday issued a call for the release of Mansour Osanloo and all the union members being held in jail:

" Today, July 05, 2010 (14th of Tir, 1389), marks the 27th day of the arrest of Saeed Torabian and the 24th day of the arrest of Reza Shahabi. Throughout this time, Reza Shahabi has contacted his family by telephone only once. On the afternoon of the arrest of Saeed Torabian, security agents descended upon his mother’s home and thoroughly inspected it. Mr. Torabian suffers from heart disease and was hospitalized last year due to a heart attack. He has not been heard from since his arrest, and no one has any knowledge of his fate or whereabouts.

In the meantime, on 9 of Tir, 1389 (Wed. 30 June 2010), Mr. Mansour Osanloo was charged with new crimes and transferred to Branch 6 of the Karaj Judiciary. In addition, an individual representing himself as a security agent has been telephoning Mr. Reza Shahabi’s wife and stating that she needs to report to a particular branch of the Security agency in order to answer questions that could potentially enable agents to release (!) Mr. Shahabi. Another member of the Vahed Syndicate has also been contacted and summoned in a similar manner.

The Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs (Vahed) Bus Drivers expresses grave concern for the physical condition of Mr. Torabian, and warns against efforts to pad his record and Mr. Torabian’s record with new false charges. In addition, the Syndicate also warns against the opening of a new case or filing new charges against Mansour Osanloo, and vehemently condemns any extension of prison terms and increased pressure upon the members of the Syndicate’s Board of Directors and their family members.

The Syndicate further demands the immediate and unconditional release of Messrs. Torabian, Shahabi, Madadi, and Osanloo, and other imprisoned workers.

With hopes of the expansion of peace and justice throughout the world,
The Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs (Vahed) Bus Drivers
14 Tir 1389 (5 July 2010)

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