Urgent Appeal! Stop Persecution of Teacher Trade Unionists in Iran!

According to reports published on Monday 18 April 2022, Mr. Rasoul Bodaghi, a sacked teacher well-known in the struggle of that sector for fair salaries and better conditions of service, has been arbitrarily sentenced in a regime show trial to a further five years in prison – as well as a two-year ban on leaving the country as well as residing in Tehran, the capital city, or any neighbouring province – having only been released on bail in December 2021 from detention imposed for leading the major teachers protests earlier that month. 

Since January 2022, a number of teachers have been arrested or are due to appear before courts to face baseless charges on national security grounds merely for having dared to challenge the regime by demanding justice and their legitimate rights.

The Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA), in a statement issued earlier today (Monday), labelled the trial and sentencing of Mr. Bodaghi as baseless and lacking in any legal validity.  “Today, the government is determined not only to ignore the rightful voice of teachers, but also to intensify pressure and legal pressure on teachers in order to break [their] the teachers’ just righteous movement of struggle.”  The movement referred to is one that has unified and mobilised teachers in a struggle for decent conditions of service as well as a modern, progressive, well-funded, and free education right across Iran. 

In its statement, the CCITTA accused the theocratic government of trying to intimidate teachers as well as their allies across the trade union movement in Iran.  This as May Day, International Workers’ Day, draws ever closer and Iranian teachers prepare to mark National Teachers’ Day (2 May) commemorating the assassination of two leading teacher trade unionists in 1961 by the regime of the Shah. 

With this cruel and wholly unjustifiable sentence for Mr. Bodaghi, the regime has not only once more shown its utter contempt for the democracy and the genuine rule of law but also its deep-seated fear of the growing consciousness, militancy, and stature of the CCITTA and the wider movement of teachers and education workers across Iran. 

The CCITTA has called for all charges against Mr. Bodaghi as well as scores of other teacher activists to be dropped immediately and unconditionally. 

The CCITTA while strongly condemning the inhuman, illegal, and cruel sentencing of Mr. Bodaghi, makes clear that those who have issued this cowardly and unjust punishment will receive a definitive response to their anti-teacher actions at the rallies being organised for May Day and National Teachers’ Day by the Iranian Teachers’ Movement.

The Union of Bus Drivers of Tehran and Suburbs Public Bus Company (Syndica-e Sherkat-e Vahed) and the Iranian Teachers Trade Association – ITTA (Tehran Province) have, in separate statements issued on Monday 18 April, both condemned the punitive re-sentencing of Mr. Rasoul Bodaghi and declared their solidarity with him as well as beginning a high-profile campaign for his immediate and unconditional release from detention..  The ITTA statement said: “It seems that the strategy of the 13th government, in addition to not responding to the legitimate demands of teachers, is to increase security pressures, as well as to file cases and issue court rulings to curb the teachers’ movement.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Esmail Abdi, the General Secretary of the ITTA, remains in prison having similarly been released from a previous sentence in 2020 only to be re-arrested a brief time later and condemned to a further ten years of imprisonment on account of his continued trade union activism.

It is worth noting that around a decade ago CODIR led an international campaign for the release of Rasoul Bodaghi after he was arrested in September 2009, and then sentenced in August 2010 to six years in prison and a ban prohibiting him from all social activities for five years on false charges of “assembly with the intent to disrupt national security” and “propaganda against the state”.  These politically motivated charges came in the wake of the stolen election in 2009 and fierce wave of repression that followed thereafter.  Indeed, CODIR was hugely relieved that Mr. Bodaghi was spared the death sentence carried by the charges originally tabled against him.  In September 2015, at the completion of that jail sentence, Mr. Bodaghi was arbitrarily re-sentenced to a further three years in jail and only gained his release from Evin Prison on 28 April 2016.

CODIR Calls for all charges against teacher activist Rasoul Bodaghi to be dropped, and for righteous protests against his new prosecution to be directed towards Islamic Republic of Iran embassies and diplomatic missions all around the world!

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.