Breaking the Language Barrier on Human Rights

VOA Reports on Reza Shahabi, Jailed Labor Activist

December 12, 2010

UPDATE: Reza Shahabi ends hunger strike, remains imprisoned

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WRITE A LETTER: Imprisoned trade unionist on hunger strike

Translation Laleh Gillani, Persian2English

Kianoosh Sanjari, Voice of America reports – The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC) has released the news of Reza Shahabi’s visit with his family on December 9, 2010 in Evin prison.  Shahabi, the jailed board member of SWTSBC, has been in prison since June 12, 2010, and it has been reported that he is on hunger strike to object to the case file against him.

In an interview with Voice of America, Reza Shahabi’s brother confirmed the news and said, “Yes, he is on hunger strike since December 4, 2010, a total of five days so far.  He is objecting to the uncertainty surrounding his case.  Two months ago, his bail was set to 60 million toman (approximately $60 thousand USD) which we posted with the court, but he wasn’t released.  The day after we posted the bail, we went to the court in Evin prison but were told that for some reason he will not be freed.  Right now, I hold the government responsible for my brother’s health.  His condition is very critical.”

Mehi Kouhestaninejad, a consultant to the World Confederation of Labour, believes that there is a connection between increased pressure on labor activists and the new economic policies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.  Mehi Kouhestaninejad explains, “During the last year, the discussion to eliminate subsidiaries has taken place.  In all practicality, such policies have made people’s financial situation much worse.  While wages have stayed the same, the prices have gone up.  When government subsidiaries are eliminated, goods can be sold at high prices.  It is expected that the labor movement objects to these policies, but the government wishes to suppress any type of opposition.”

In addition to Reza Shahabi, other labor activists including Ebrahim Madadi, Mansour Osanloo, Ali Akbar Nazari, and Gholamreza Gholam-Hosseini are amongst those imprisoned.

Further Reading: Iranian Authorities Refuse to Release Labor Activist on Bail

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