Iran: Continued arbitrary detention and denial of medical care to Mr. Reza Shahabi Zakaria

03/07/2014
Urgent Appeal
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New information
IRN 004 / 0714 / OBS 061
Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment /
Denial of medical care / Ill-treatment in detention
Iran
July 3, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) about the continued arbitrary detention and denial of medical care to Mr. Reza Shahabi Zakaria, Treasurer of the Syndicate of Workers of United Bus Company of Tehran, who is serving a six-year prison sentence since June 2010 as well as the judicial harassment, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of dozens of other trade unionists [1].

According to the information received, on June 30, 2014, Mr. Reza Shahabi, who is currently detained in Rajaishahr prison, was in pressing need for medical care. His cellmates took him to the prison clinic but the clinic officials refused to offer him the needed care and demanded him to end his hunger strike, which he turned down. Mr. Shahabi has been on hunger strike since June 1, in protest to his illegal transfer from Evin prison to Rajaishahr prison on the same day. In a letter to the Prosecutor of Tehran province, dated June 14, Mr. Shahabi stated that he felt he had no other recourse than to go on hunger strike and demanded “to be returned to Evin prison; to be granted sick leave from prison to receive medical care and disc operation” and the implementation of the relevant provisions of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code that would make him eligible for immediate release.

The Observatory recalls that at least 12 other labour activists and trade unionists are currently in prison in Iran, and a number of others are facing long-term prison sentences. Those 12 unionists include:
- three members of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Labour Unions (CPELU), Messrs. Shahrokh Zamani (serving a total of 11.5 years in prison), Mohammad Jarrahi (5 years) - both also founding members of the Painters’ and Decorators’ Union, and Behnam (Assad) Ebrahimzadeh (5 years), also a child rights activist;
- at least four members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organisations (CCHFWO), Messrs. Yousef Ab-Kharabat (2 years), Mohammad Molanaei (1 year), Vahed Seyedeh (2 years), and Afshin Nadimi (one year);
- and at least five members of the Teachers’ Association of Iran (TAI), Messrs. Mahmood Bagheri (4.5 years), Rassoul Bodaghi (6 years), Mohammad Davari (6 years), Mehdi Farahi-Shandiz (3 years; also a member of the CPELU), and Abdolreza Ghabari (15 years).
- Another labour and child rights activist, Mr. Saeed Shirzad, was detained in the city of Tabriz, north-western Iran, on June 2 but the reasons for his detention and his whereabouts are not known.

Imprisoned unionists regularly face different forms of harassment and are denied medical care. Mr. Ebrahimzadeh, who had spent two weeks in solitary confinement after being beaten up during the April 18 attack of prison guards against Ward 350 of Evin prison, was transferred on May 3 to solitary cells of Intelligence Ministry-run Ward 209 in Evin prison, where he was detained for nearly two months. Furthermore, security forces harassed Mr. Ebrahimzadeh’s family on June 29 and searched the family house confiscating their computer and other equipment as well as identity and banking documents. Furthermore, Mr. Farahi-Shandiz was illegally transferred to Rajaishahr prison in mid June. Messrs. Shahabi, Jarrahi and Molanaei are in pressing need of medical care, which they have been consistently deprived of.

Furthermore, prison sentences against Messrs Hassan Rassoulnejad, Jamal Minashiri, Hadi Tanoumand, Ghassem Mostafapour, Ebrahim Mostafapour, Mohammad Karimi, and Ghaleb Hosseini, all members of the CCHFWO, have been upheld and they are likely to be arrested and sent to prison soon. Some other members of the CCHFWO as well as some members of the TAI have also been sentenced to prison terms and are awaiting the outcome of their appeals, including Messrs Vafa Ghaderi, Khaled Hosseini, Ali-Akbar Baghani, Mahmood Beheshti-Langaroudi, and Alireza Hashemi.

The Observatory expresses its deep concerns about the ongoing detention and denial of medical care to Mr. Reza Shahabi as well as about the harassment and imprisonment of the above-mentioned trade unionists, who are punished only for exercising their rights to freedom of speech, assembly and association, as enshrined in the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a State party, as well as the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organisation.

The Observatory is accordingly calling on the Iranian authorities to release all the above-mentioned trade unionists and to stop persecution of all trade unionists, by dropping the charges against them and putting an end to the practice of summoning, interrogating, and prosecuting unionists.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Reza Shahabi Zakaria, all above-mentioned trade unionists as well as of all other human rights defenders in Iran;

ii. Provide adequate medical care to Messrs. Shahabi, Jarrahi, Molanaei and all other imprisoned human rights defenders;

iii. Release immediately and unconditionally all above-mentioned trade unionists and other human rights defenders detained in Iran merely to sanction their human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against all above-mentioned trade unionists and all other human rights defenders in Iran and ensure in all circumstances that they can carry out their activities without any hindrances;

v. Conform in all circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
- its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Addresses:

Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shahid Keshvardoost St., Jomhuri Eslami Ave., Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email: info_leader@leader.ir; Twitter: @khamenei_ir
President Hassan Rouhani, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Tel: +98 21 64451; Fax: + 98 21 649 5880; Email: media@rouhani.ir; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).
Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur Street, Vali Asr Avenue, south of Serah-e Jomhuri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: info@dadiran.ir; / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir / info@bia-judiciary.ir
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Kushk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; matbuat@mfa.gov.ir
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, [Care of] Office of the Head of the Judicary, Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave, South of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: info@humanrights-iran.ir
H.E. Mr. Mohsen Naziri Asl, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Barimani, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: secreteriat@iranembassy.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

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