Retrial of Jafar Azimzadeh for “attempt at endangering the national security”
On the morning of June 4th 2016, Jafar Azimzadeh, a well-known worker’s leader, who was on a hunger strike for 63 days, after only 3 days of his temporary release from prison with a very bad physical condition, was called to the 4th branch of “investigation justice” in the city of Saveh. But, Jafar Azimzadeh due to weak physical conditions requested an extension to submitting his defence, which he presented after two weeks. The indictment of the court of Saveh city, laid four charges against him, “Assembling and colluding with intent to act against national security”, “Disturbing public opinion”, “propaganda against the regime of Islamic republic of Iran”, and “Disturbing public order”. For instance some examples of these accusations are, helping and consulting the workers in Navard and Pipe Safa to strike, agitating the workers of Profile factory of Saveh, forming the free union of workers of Iran, being the head of the union and interviewing and publication about worker’s issues.
Jafar Azimzadeh on March 2015 also was convicted for the same charges and received a sentence of six years imprisonment. The sentence was confirmed in the appeals court on August 8th 2015, and he was sent to jail. On May 1st, the day of “International Worker’s day”, he and Ismael Abdi (a leader in the teacher’s union), in a joint statement showed their opposition against labelling worker’s protests to “disturbing public order”, and demanding all the charges under these accusations should be dismissed. To achieve this goal, he under took 63 days of hunger strike, which created a strong campaign in support of his demand and as a result he was temporary released from prison. Right now because of this situation he has been called on, on June 4th, by investigation justice of Saveh to face the same kinds of allegations in the court. In the morning of June 20th Jafar Azimzadeh accompanied by his lawyer Ali Jedari Froghi were present there and submitted their defence to the prosecution office of Saveh city branch 4 . In his defence Jafar Azimzadeh refused all the charges and defended his campaigns and the activities of “free union workers”. The Islamic republic of Iran normally is framing every workers protest as “threats to the national security”.
The resent pressure on the workers based on such kind of charges came after 170 workers of the Choka factory protested against layoffs, and the government arrested 12 workers on Jun 13th. But the workers gathered in front of the judiciary office and announced if they don’t free their colleagues they won’t leave the office. At the end officials had to release them.
Another example is the summoning of Mr Sharif Saed Panah, and Mr Mozafar Saleh Nia two worker activists by the security agency of Sanadaj city, on June 20th and on July 25th for memberships in The Free Worker’s Union and their activities. Before that Mr Sharif Saed Panah, Mr Hashem Rostami one of the well-known worker’s activists of the city of the Sanadaj, and Mr. Mozafar Saleh Nia had been arrested and interrogated by the security police for the same allegations.
This is happening while Behnam Ebrahim Zadeh another well-known worker activist was put in prison in 2009. After keeping him in prison for five years and while he is still in jail, he was charged with some new allegations and sentenced to a new term of seven years and ten months prison. He is regurlary denied meeting his wife, his severely ill son and rest of family. Recently he was given short meetings with his family and his son, after several times protests. . Another well known worker activist Mohammad Jarrahi has been sentenced to five years prison and he is severely ill.
It should be added that jafar Azim zadeh, Esmail Abdi, and Rasool Bodaqi have been released on bail and in any minute there is a risk of being called back to jail.
In addition, labor activists such as Davoud Razavi, Reza Shahabi, Mohammad Reza Niknezhad, Mehdi Bohloli , Mahmoud Salehi, Osman Esmaili, and Jamil Mohammad have been sentenced to long terms of jail and they are at risk of arrest . Ebrahim Madadi a member of the executive board of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company were summoned to court on February 2016.
Facing this grim situation, workers in Iran are not silent, but are struggling and defending their rights. They need international support in their camp. We call on all trade unions and human rights organisations around the world and all individuals and organisations appalled by the horrific human rights abuse in Iran to support workers in Iran and campaign to free jailed workers in Iran.
Please send your protest letters to the authorities of Islamic regime of Iran and support our demands:
-All charges brought against imprisoned worker- and teacher activists must be dropped.
– Securitizing Workers’, Teachers’, and the General Public’s Protests in Iran should be stopped. Trials of workers and all political activists must be stopped and any kind of fabrication of charges against them must be cancelled.
– We express our solidarity with all Iranian workers and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all jailed trade unionists and political prisoners in Iran; Behnaam Ebraahimzaadeh, Mohammad Jarraahi, as well as all other workers and political prisoners must be freed immediately.
– We condemn the Islamic regime of Iran for its persecution of worker activists and political dissidents.
– We support the struggle of the workers and people of Iran for freedom, the right to organise and strike, and for welfare, equality, justice and a life of dignity.
A regime which arrests, jails and flogs workers should not be allowed in ILO!
Campaign to free jailed workers in Iran (Free Them Now(