from: Campaign to Free Jailed Workers IN Iran
To all unions and all freedom lover organisations around the world!
Jafar Azimzadeh well known jailed worker was released
We are pleased to announce the release of Jafar Azimzaadeh, prominent labor leader in Iran, from prison in Tehran. As reported by The Free Union of Workers, Azimzaadeh ended his hunger strike at 8 P.M., Thu. June 30 only when the judicial authorities of the regime agreed to release him on extendable leave and promised a fair review of his case.
Azimzaadeh’s release, achieved after a 63-day long hunger strike, is a significant victory for the workers, for teachers, and for the people at large. It is the result of a powerful campaign announced by Jafar Azimzaadeh and Esmail Abdi, a techers’ union leader, on the eve of the International Workers’ Day. The campaign was subsequently supported extensively by the workers, the teachers, and the people from all walks of life inside and outside Iran.
Through their campaign Azimzaadeh and Abdi protested the regime’s branding each and every protest action by the workers, by the teachers, and by the people at large “acting against national security” that has entailed their arrest and incarceration.
The fight goes on as there are still a large number of labor activists in jail with the same trump charges against them. We will continue the campaign for the freedom of the jailed workers, counting, as previously, on your support and solidarity. We urge you to continue supporting our campaign by raising your voice for the following urgent demands:
1-Behnaam Ebraahimzaadeh, Mohammad Jarraahi, Mozaffar Saalehniya, Haashem Rostami, as well as all other political prisoners, must be freed immediately.
2-All charges brought against imprisoned worker- and teacher activists must be dropped, and all of the demands put forward by Jafar Azimzaadeh must be granted immediately.
3-Late last May twenty-seven Aagh Darreh miners were lashed by the Islamic Republic for protesting against lay-offs. The Islamic Republic has since continued the barbaric practice of sentencing workers to lashing. We demand that Lashing be made illegal, and the Islamic Republic be vehemently condemned for this its savage treatment of the workers.
4-The Islamic Republic must recognizing and respect the right to strike, the right to organize, and all other rights established by the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
A regime which arrests, jails and flogs workers should not be allowed in ILO!
Jafar Azimzaadeh thanked all who strived for his release. The English translation of the transcribed version of his appreciation speech is attached.
Campaign to Free Jailed Workers IN Iran (Free Them Now)
The transcription of Jafar Azimzaadeh’s message to workers, teachers, and all honorable, freedom-loving people at conclusion of his hunger strike
Jafar Azimzaadeh expresses his gratitude for the struggles of the campaign for his release from prison
First of all, I must say that my hat’s off to the international movement of the working class, to all local and international organizations and trade unions in Europe, Canada, Australia, and the rest of the world. My hat’s off to the teachers all over the country, to the Teachers’ Trade Association, to their great movement and to the brave activists as well as prominent figures of that movement. My hat’s off to civil and social activists, to human rights activists, to freedom activists, to political prisoners in Rajaai Shahr and Evin prisons, and to the student movement that has always rallied behind the workers’ as well as the teachers’ movement despite the heavy costs that it has paid for that. My hat’s off to the workers’ independent organizations, institutions, groups and circles in factories. My hat’s off to my dear associates at The Free Union of Workers of Iran who linked arms and, hand in hand with the Teachers’ Trade Association, promoted the demand for ending the practice [by the regime] of putting a national security twist on the workers’ and teachers’ trade protests, as well as the removal of national security accusations from the charges brought against the trade and the civil rights activists, to the level of a huge movement.
However, as far as the demands of that movement, I have to say that no considerable positive development has yet occurred with respect to their actual achievement. While our great teachers, Rasul Bodaaghi, Esmail Abdi, Mahmud Beheshti-Langrudi and Ali-Reza Haashemi have been released from prison, and I am at home (something to be elated about in its own right) chances are that Esmail Abdi, Mahmud Beheshti-Langrudi and me be taken back to prison at any moment. More importantly, Behnaam Alizaadeh and Mohammad Jarraahi are still in prison, while Behnaam has so far suffered doubly during his seven years of incarceration due to his child’s illness, and Mohammad Jarrahi is seriously ill. They are yet to be released immediately and unconditionally.
Therefore, I have to say that the movement which has come into existence only during the past three months is still at the beginning of, and, most optimistically appraised, half way through, a road that must lead to all working people, the workers, the teachers, the nurses, etc., being able to organize their independent organizations as well as to hold local and/or national protests to gain their rightful demands without their protests being falsely tagged ‘jeopardizing national security’ and they themselves be forced to face long-term prison sentences for such heavy, trump charges.
Further, such demands as wage increases in accordance with today’s living standards, equal pay for equal work, the right to assemble and demonstrate, the right to strike, the right to form independent organizations, and job security must be recognized, and realized, as the basic rights of the workers and the teachers.
I for one, as a small part of a great working-class movement, will not, whether I am in or out of jail, for a single moment give up the struggle for gaining those demands. This struggle for achieving our demands is itself our most self-evident right. No power should be able to alienate this our right, and to order us not to demand bread, not to demand a better life.
As for the 63-day long hunger strike that I went on together with Esmail abdi, I would like to say – stressing the leading role of the prominent figures of the teachers’ movement in bringing about the class unity of the workers and teachers – that, despite the hardship and misery I went through, those have been the most beautiful, the most glorious, days of my 50-year life; ‘beautiful’ and ‘glorious’, because the strike, thanks to the work of the workers and teachers, their trade organizations, civil and social rights activists, as well as the global working-class movement, turned into a great movement, a turning point, indeed, in the history of the Iranian working-class struggles – a movement that will, no doubt, prove to be the origin of great improvements in the path of the workers, the teachers, and all other working people to achieve their rightful demands.
CC: Workers and human rights organizations all over the world
Source: website of The Free Union of Workers of Iran (www.etehadeh.com)
Translation: Jamshid Hadian (Free Them Now)