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IndustriALL calls on Government of Iran to release Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi

15 November, 2017IndustriALL Global Union has written to the Government of Iran to demand the release of Mahmoud Salehi, Reza Shahabi and other imprisoned trade unionists. The union activists are seriously ill and need urgent medical attention.

IndustriALL has received reports from Iranian affiliate the Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran (UMMI), as well as from other free and democratic Iranian civil society organizations, of the persecution and detention of workers and trade union leaders for exercising their fundamental trade union rights. UMMI is campaigning in solidarity with these imprisoned workers, and has issued a call for support.

The Iranian government pursues a strategy of homicidal negligence towards jailed union activists, by subjecting them to severe torture, medical neglect, extended and repeated imprisonment and gross mistreatment.

Long-time labour activist, Mahmoud Salehi, who has been in and out of jail for the past thirty years, was re-imprisoned on 28 October 2017. On 3 November 3, Mr. Salehi suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital from the prison; however, he was shockingly transferred back to prison on 11 November despite the fact that only 30 percent of his heart is functioning. Mr. Salehi has lost both of his kidneys during his imprisonment and must undergo kidney dialysis in the hospital twice a week. The life of Mahmoud Salehi will be in grave danger if he remains in prison.

Reza Shahabi, an executive board member of Tehran Bus Workers’ Union (Vahed Union), has been in and out of prison since 2010. He was re-imprisoned on 9 August 2017. Mr. Shahabi also has serious health issues, allegedly because of years of mistreatment and torture during his interrogations.

In a message from prison, Reza Shahabi said:

“The support of workers and defenders of workers’ and human rights in Iran and internationally, will be the only guarantor of my freedom and the freedom of my incarcerated colleagues.”

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches wrote to President Rouhani of Iran, saying:

“IndustriALL Global Union once again urges the Government of Iran to ratify ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Convention 98 on the Right to organize and Collective Bargaining.

“We call on the Government of Iran to put an end to arrests and repression of labour activists, and we reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mahmoud Salehi, Reza Shahabi and all other jailed labour activists.”