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Two Unionists Released in Iran; Salehi Still Jailed

    Labor Rights Now welcomed the release of two trade union leaders in Iran, but called upon the government there to release Mahmoud Salehi, the former president of the Saqez Bakers' Union, who remains jailed in Sanandaj under extremely harsh conditions.

    Ebrahim Madadi, vice president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, and Reza Dehghan, a leader of the Union of Painters, were released on December 16, 2007. Madadi had been arrested August 9 and Dehghan on November 18.

    "The release of Madadi and Dehghan is very good news," Labor Rights Now President Don Stillman said. "But we once again urge the Government of Iran to release Mahmoud Salehi, who remains in prison despite his deteriorating health."

    Stillman also urged Iran to free Mansour Osanloo, the president of the Vahed union. Madadi had been charged with "acting against national security" for gathering outside Osanloo's residence to protest Osanloo's sentence of five years imprisonment. Madadi was acquitted, while Dehghan was released on bail.

    "I am particularly concerned about the Iranian government's continued mistreatment of Brother Salehi," Stillman said. "He has chronic kidney disease and, while jailed in Sanandaj, has suffered intestinal edema linked to his renal failure. Salehi needs to be released on humanitarian grounds so he can get the medical treatment he needs to survive."

    Labor Rights Now also urged Iran to release Ebrahim Gohari, a member of the executive board of the Vehed union, as well as Mohsen Hakimi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organizations and Alireza Asghari and Hossein Gholami, two independent labor activists. All were arrested in Tehran on December 14, 2007.

Labor Rights Now Blasts Iran Labor Repression

    Labor Rights Now blasted the Iranian government for sentencing worker activists to long prison terms for exercising fundamental trade union rights.

    "American workers are outraged at the sentencing of Mahmoud Salehi to five years in prison and three years of exile in the city of Ghorvey," LRN President Don Stillman said in a letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Salehi is the former president of the Bakery Workers' Association of the city of Saqez and a co-founder of the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers' Organizations.

    "We also condemn the sentence of Jalal Hosseini, a member of the Bakery Workers' Association, to three years imprisonment and the two-year sentences given to Mohsen Hakimi, Mohammad Adipour, and Borhan Divangar," Stillman said.

    According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Salehi and Hosseini were sentenced for their trade union activities.

    The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association urged Iran to drop the charges against the worker activists. Iran is a member of the ILO and is obligated to uphold the right to freedom of association, but failed to do so in these cases.

    "Labor Rights Now condemns the utter disregard that the government of Iran has displayed toward internationally recognized worker rights," Stillman's letter to Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

    "American workers call upon you to recognize the innocence of Salehi, Hosseini, Hakimi, Adipour, and Divangar and to free them from prison immediately."

More Information

ICFTU's Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights in Iran

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