Jailed Iranian teacher wins major solidarity award

1st April 2018

Press release

For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR), has today welcomed the conferring of an International Solidarity Award upon a jailed Iranian trade unionist by one of the UK’s major teaching unions.

The award, which is given to trade unionists who have shown exceptional bravery promoting human rights and in fighting for the rights of trade union members, was awarded in absentia to jailed Iranian teacher Esmail Abdi, by the NASUWT at its conference today.

Mr Abdi is leader of the Tehran branch of the Iran Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) and was convicted of national security offences in February 2016, after organising peaceful protests in defence of teachers’ pay and conditions of service in Iran.

He was given a six-year prison sentence and although recently he was allowed to leave the notorious Evin Prison he was rearrested after only 11 days and taken back to custody.

In making the award the union expressed regret that Mr Abdi could not be present to accept the award in person and reiterated its call for his release and that of all trade union activists unjustly imprisoned by the Iranian regime.

The NASUWT stressed the importance of Abdi’s contribution to the cause of children’s rights in Iran, in arguing the case for every child to be entitled to a good quality education.  The union recognised Abdi’s role in highlighting the poor pay and working conditions of teachers in Iran and, in the face of significant pressure, seeking to organise to improve these.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Esmail Abdi is an inspiration to teachers and trade unionists across the world, through his courage to stand up for trade union and human rights in the face of oppressive and harsh treatment.

“Esmail has shown tremendous courage and fortitude. In making this award, NASUWT and its members wish to honour his courage and offer him hope and our solidarity and support in his tremendous struggle. Our deepest regret is that he will be unable to be with us in Birmingham to accept the award in person.

“Esmail’s courage and determination to continue to fight for quality education in Iran, despite the terrible personal cost he has had to endure, is truly humbling.

“The NASUWT is continuing to maintain solidarity with Esmail and with teachers in Iran, working with partners, including Amnesty International, to press for Esmail’s unconditional release.”

As well as acknowledging the individual contribution of Esmail Abdi the NASUWT also acknowledged the importance of the role of the Iranian Teachers Association as a significant voice championing the rights of teachers and students.

CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, welcomed the award and stressed the importance of continuing to apply pressure to the Iranian government in order to support change inside Iran.

“This important award will both boost the morale of Mr Abdi and his colleagues opposing oppression inside Iran and remind the Iranian regime that their actions are under international scrutiny”, said Mr Ahmadi. “Mr Abdi has been unjustly imprisoned for almost three years, suffered intensive interrogation and has been denied access to his family or lawyer.  The accusations levelled against Mr Abdi are for activities which are not even illegal under Iranian law.  There are many violations of human rights in Iran but this is one of the most flagrant.”

In making the International Solidarity Award the NASUWT assured Mr Abdi that the union would continue to work with other unions, human rights organisations and the wider international community to press the Iranian authorities to quash his unjust conviction.  The union vowed to continue to show its support and solidarity with the teachers of Iran.

CODIR will continue to work with the trade union and labour movement in the UK to highlight the plight of those unjustly imprisoned for trade union and human rights activity in Iran.


Contact Information for CODIR:-

Postal Address:
Website: www.codir.net
E-mail: codir_info@btinternet.com

Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human and democratic rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK and internationally, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.



Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.