Solidarity organisation calls for justice for imprisoned teachers

7th May 2020

 Press release

 For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has appealed to trade unions in the UK to support the rights of teachers in Iran who have come under further attack by the regime.

Latest developments include the firing of teachers’ activist, Mohammed Habibi, by the Iranian Education Ministry, nearly two years after his initial arrest and subsequent imprisonment.

The Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran (ITTA-Tehran) has protested against Habibi’s dismissal, demanding that the regime stop fabricating cases against teachers’ rights activists and that the regime immediately and unconditionally free all imprisoned teachers.

Habibi was initially sentenced to a total of 10 years and six months in jail, as well as 74 lashes and a two-year ban on working with political and social groups or leaving the country.  The prison sentence was subsequently reduced to seven years and six months.

The charges against Habibi, of association and collusion against national security, disseminating propaganda against the state and disrupting public order, are used widely by the Iranian regime in order to try and silence activists.

Education International and NASUWT, the Teachers’ Union have also condemned the re-arrest of Tehran education union leader Esmail Abdi.

Initially released on furlough on 17 March 2020, Mr Abdi had to report to prison on 21 April and was kept in detention.

Mr Abdi has been held in detention in the Evin prison since June 2015, when he led teacher marches in Tehran and applied for a visa to participate in the Education International World Congress. Teachers and human rights organisations have been campaigning for Abdi’s release ever since his arrest.

United Nations human rights experts have also called for the permanent release of all prisoners of conscience and those unjustly imprisoned in Iran, stating in a recent press release,

“Some are at great risk from COVID-19 due to their age or underlying health conditions. We call on the authorities to immediately release them.”

CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, also called for the Iranian regime to release those unjustly imprisoned.

“The regime in Iran is playing cat and mouse with people’s lives”, said Mr. Ahmadi, “by releasing prisoners on furlough then re-arresting them.  Bearing in mind that these prisoners should not have been imprisoned in the first place, as their only crime is to call for democracy and social justice in Iran, we want all trade unionists to back our call for their freedom.”

The dangers to prisoners in Iran are exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic, as Iran’s prisons are notorious for their hygiene, overcrowding and healthcare problems.

CODIR is calling upon trade unionists in the UK to support their demands for

  • the permanent release of imprisoned teachers
  • the release of all unjustly imprisoned political prisoners
  • humane conditions for prisoners while incarcerated

CODIR is also pressing for the proper resourcing of the country’s health service to ensure a nationwide response that cares for the poorer and lower-income sections of the population who are bearing the brunt of the current pandemic crisis.


 Further information for Editors

 Contact Information for CODIR:-

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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 rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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

Trade unions in Britain affiliated to CODIR and supporting its work include UNITE, UNISON, NEU, NASUWT, UCU, RMT and FBU.

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.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.





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