Labor activist Asal Mohammadi arbitrarily arrested in Tehran

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Asal Mohammadi, a labor activist and a student at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Azad University of Tehran, was arrested at her home by security forces on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, and transferred to Branch One of the Prosecutor’s Office in Evin Prison. 

Reports indicate that the labor activists was taken to Shush Prison.

Asal Mohammadi had published articles on various websites in support of Iranian workers. In recent weeks, Asal Mohammadi had also written articles in support of the ongoing protests of the Ahvaz Steel and Haft Tappeh workers.

Iranian authorities have increased targeting of rights activists in recent weeks following the ongoing peaceful protests.

On November 18, the Telegram channel of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate reported that authorities arrested all members of the association of labor representatives for the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane company.
On November 20, Mosfata Nazari, the prosecutor of Shoosh County, told reporters that authorities have released 15 labor activists who were arrested during the protests.

Two worker representatives, Esmail Bakhshi and Ali Nejati are still in custody.
Detained labor activist Esmail Bakhshi was hospitalized after being tortured under interrogation, according to Iranian labor sources.

“The reports we have received say security forces have severely tortured Esmail Bakhshi after his detention [on November 20th],” reported an Iranian labor news channel on November 29.

“Bakshi’s face has been swollen and bruised from receiving several blows to the head,” said the posting. “He is also in a dangerous condition suffering from bleeding in the stomach, for which he has been transferred to a hospital in Ahvaz. There is no information about his condition.”

Hours after the Telegram posting appeared, the head of the local court system in Shush, Sadegh Jafari Chegini, denied Bakhshi had been physically abused, adding that the “false news” was aimed at “disturbing public opinion.”

“The suspect Esmail Bakhshi is completely healthy and he had telephone contact with his family today,” he added.

Bakhshi’s health condition and case status, including whether he has been allowed access to a lawyer, remains unclear.

Bakhshi’s colleague Ali Nejati was also arrested by security forces on November 29, the 25th day of protests by hundreds of Haft Tappeh workers demanding months of unpaid wages in the southwestern Iranian city of Shush.

More recently, Iran’s Chief Justice threatened Iranian workers protesting unpaid wages with persecution calling their peaceful protests, “sedition.”

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