Iran: Teacher activist arrested, held in solitary confinement after peaceful protest

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Reports indicate that teachers’ rights advocate Mohammad Habibi has been held in an IRGC intelligence solitary confinement where he has endured torture.

A detained teacher who had seen Mohammad Habibi on May 11 when he appeared in the Evin Court says he was in poor physical condition. His hands were numb and he could barely walk. His face was swollen and bruised.

In a brief telephone call with his wife on May 13, Mohammad Habibi told her that he is kept in limbo and his bail is $12,000.

Habibi had been released from Evin prison on April 15 after being arrested on March 3 on unspecified charges that drew criticism from international and Iranian rights groups.

A peaceful rally by Iranian teachers took place on Thursday May 10th, in front of the Planning and Budget Organization in Tehran, and held in front of the Education Department in other cities throughout the country.

According to reports, agents arrested 15 people at the protest in front of the “Plan and Budget Organization” in Tehran.

A board member of the Tehran Teachers Association that organized Thursday’s rally said she saw five of those arrested all men appear in a court on Friday, handcuffed and shackled.

Teachers oppose the privatization of education and demand fair wages, stating that Iranian government has shown time and time again that they have no regards to education.

In addition to basic demands, including increasing educational budgets and fair salaries for teachers, they also voiced their opposition to the education system which is practically endangering “free and quality education for all children.”

Tehran Teachers Association has issued a statement condemning security forces for attacking the teachers and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained.

The statement reads in part, “The gathering of May 10th of teachers in Tehran was guided by registered guild clubs of Tehran and Alborz (province), like in all other provinces it was a civil act and a peaceful protest to revive the deteriorating education and the oppressed rights of working and retired teachers all across the country. This gathering turned into a chaotic one when it encountered an organized attack by SSF and Plainclothes.”

Tehran Teachers Association, describing the event on Thursday in its statement said that the teachers didn’t go out of the park as the police force requested but they suddenly encountered a raid by Plainclothes: “The State Security Force and Plainclothes dragged the teachers on the street to suffocate their voice which sought justice and the face of women were covered with blood.”

“Tehran Teachers Association while condemning the attack, demands immediate and unconditional release of the detained teachers and demands an end to treating all teachers as such.”

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