Tehran public transport workers union: End the harassment of teacher and labour activists and their families!

The Syndicate [Union] of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC) has issued a statement demanding an end to the harassment of the families of imprisoned labour activists, Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saeedi, as well as other arrested workers and teachers.

The statement condemned the pressure put upon the detainees’ family members by the theocratic regime so as to obtain false confessions from their loved ones. It also demanded that Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saeedi, regarding whose safety and wellbeing there are growing concerns, receive immediate and thorough medical attention – as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all workers, teachers, and others detained on account of their activism and protests.

The full text of the SWTSBC statement reads as follows:

“Unfortunately, more than two months have passed since the detention of Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saeedi in the solitary cells of Ward 209 of Evin Prison – [an ordeal] overseen by the Ministry of Intelligence and televised by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)* organisation – and these two union activists continue to protest their detention and the false accusations [against them] through a hunger strike which they have kept for 39 and 30 days respectively.

“Despite the inconclusive investigation, the Ministry of Intelligence interrogators have prevented any meeting between these two rights-seeking workers and their concerned families, [who] have been wracked with worry for weeks owing to the unfulfilled promises made to them by interrogators day after day – and there is still no word nor information as to the health of their family members. 

“It should be noted that…

“Judiciary officials have omitted to carry out even the most basic follow-up on the condition of these prisoners.

“Moreover, despite extending the detention of these workers into a third month, the division responsible for issuing these orders […] has no information about the physical condition and health of the hunger-striking detainees – and, instead, is just waiting for news from the interrogators who, according to the officials of the Evin Prison Prosecutor’s Office, are most probably on leave.

“In fact, it seems that the investigations department is not even aware of the physical condition of these two trade union activists after more than a month on hunger strike. Are they in good health?

“IRI government officials criticise the situation and conditions faced by prisoners in other countries, while we [here in Iran] have the most problems in this regard – and even the most basic of judicial procedures is not respected in the so-called [national] security cases.

“The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC) hereby declares that leaving the families of the two justice-seeking imprisoned bus drivers is not only an example of the [ongoing] harassment and torture of the Shahabi and Saeedi families, but also shows the authorities’ weakness and failure to create a convincing case [for their prosecution] or to break the resistance and will of workers, teachers, and other detainees held under the new pretext of so-called espionage [endangering national security].

“While condemning the pressure on the families of teachers and workers and other detainees in order to obtain false confessions, SWTSBC demands an immediate medical examination of Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saeedi, as well as the unconditional release of all workers, teachers, and other detainees in this case.”

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