ITF condemns Shahabi jail sentence

The ITF has condemned as illegal and inhumane the jail sentence imposed on Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi, and has demanded his immediate and unconditional freedom and return to work.

Iran’s court of appeal upheld on 11 December 2015 the one-year sentence given to Mr Shahabi in May that year, over a protest by prisoners in Evin jail on 17 April, 2014.

Mr Shahabi, treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburban Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate), has been on medical leave from prison following a back operation in September 2014. He has been forced to live outside of Tehran, away from his wife and children. His request to return to work was denied by the authorities, in spite of the Iranian government’s recent report to the ILO that he was free and had returned to work.

ITF inland transport secretary Mac Urata said: “It’s difficult for most of us to imagine enduring the relentless persecution experienced by Reza Shahabi – inhumane and illegal punishment simply for carrying out lawful trade union activities as guaranteed by universally declared international labour standards.

“We demand Mr Shahabi’s immediate freedom and his reinstatement at work. As a global union federation we will do all we can to support our member the Vahed Syndicate in their fight against this oppression.”

Mr Shahabi was first arrested in 2005 for his participation in a bus drivers’ strike, then sacked. He was arrested again in 2010 and was banned from union activities for five years. Since then he has spent 22 months in solitary confinement, has been beaten and has been on hunger strike several times.

In February ITF general secretary Steve Cotton urged Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, to act over the continuing victimisation of Vahed Syndicate leaders Davoud Razavi and Ebrahim Madadi.

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