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Iran: ITF speaks out on targeting of activists

29 Jan 2019
Esmaeil Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian were re-arrested on 20 January
Esmaeil Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian were re-arrested on 20 January
The ITF today joined trade unionists and Amnesty International at the Iranian embassy in London to protest against Tehran’s imprisoning and torturing of labour activists.

The action came as the ITF general secretary, Stephen Cotton, called on the Iranian president to end the targeting of trade union activists.

In a letter to Hasan Rouhani, Mr Cotton expressed concern that the authorities used a TV documentary to suggest the struggles of Haft Tapeh sugar workers and other workers are connected to foreign governments.

It is understood that the government accusations are based on forced confessions gathered from detained workers, Esmaeil Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, who have been tortured. Mr Cotton wrote: “Such violations of basic human rights must cease immediately; I call on you both to stop such torture, and to immediately release these detainees.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is extremely concerned for all members of the ITF’s affiliated Tehran bus workers’ union (Vahed Syndicate) and especially for Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saedi, who, we understand, were incorrectly named in this so-called documentary as part of a "failed plot” behind strike actions. We urge you to make immediate assurances as to their ongoing liberty and safety and look forward to receiving said assurances from you.”

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