Prominent labor rights activist Held incommunicado
The vice president of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, Parvin Mohammadi, has been held incommunicado in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
During the past two weeks, Mohammadi has not been allowed to speak with her attorney or relatives on the phone.
Mohammadi’s close relatives are very concerned about the health of this labor activist because she suffers from illnesses such as severe migraine.
Earlier, on January 29, security forces arrested the secretary of the board of directors of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, Jafar Azimzadeh, and Parvin Mohammadi, within hours of each other on January 29.
Security forces confiscated the personal belongings of Azimzadeh and Ms. Mohammadi, including their laptops and cell phones, during two separate raids, according to reports.
The Free Union of Iranian Workers (FUIW) has condemned the arrests and called for the immediate release of their members.
In an open letter to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the union also pleaded with ILO Director-General Guy Ryder to support Iranian workers and demand the release of jailed labor activists.
In the letter, the FUIW told Ryder, a British scientist and union organizer, that a new wave of labor suppression is underway in Iran.
Azimzadeh has been incarcerated in Evin Prison, where he is serving a six-year sentence for “actions against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the state,” while Ms. Mohammadi is being held at Evin incommunicado without being charged.
Dozens of labor activists have been arrested recently and are awaiting trial, including workers from the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane industrial complex, which has seen repeated strikes and labor protests in recent months, with workers demanding back pay.
Among those who were arrested are the spokesman of the sugar cane workers’ unrecognized union, Esmail Bakhshi, and the former union director, Ali Nejati.
According to the FUIW, forty workers of the National Steel Industrial Group in Ahvaz, the capital of the oil-rich Khuzestan province, have also been detained without being charged.
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions, despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.
Workers are regularly threatened, detained, tortured and even sentenced to flogging, despite their legitimate demands and protests to current conditions which has robbed them of more than 80% of their purchasing power.