RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW! CODIR Calls for the Immediate Release of Reza Shahabi!

The Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Company Syndicate) – SWTSBC – has released statements dated 8th, 9th and 12th August reporting the continued harrassment of Reza Shahabi, a well respected member of their union’s executive committee, and his re-arrest by the security forces in Iran.  Reza Shahabi was originally arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to five years of imprisonment for engaging in legitimate trade union activities.  Such were the serious injuries he sustained during his arrest and subsequent interrogations that he was hospitalised and required specialist medical attention outside prison.

Considering his original sentence and the fact that he had spent months on medical leave for treatment – which should be considered as running concurrently with the sentence – Reza Shahabi’s time should have been considered as served and therefore he should have been due for release. However, he was recently summoned to report back to the prison authorities.  The SWTSBC and Mr. Shahabi’s family had assumed that this was for him to be officially notified of his release. Instead he was re-arrested.

The re-arrest of Reza Shahabi; the ongoing detentions of Ismail Abdi and Mohsen Omrani of the Iranian Teachers Trade Association; the recent sentencing of Shahpour Ehsaniraad, a member of the Iranian Workers’ Free Trade Union, to the medieval punishment of the lashing; and the intensification of pressure on political prisoners in Gohardasht that has led 12 of them to begin a hunger strike, are all testament to the intensified atmosphere of repression and intimidation imposed by the regime.

CODIR calls for an end to all repressive measures taken by the theocratic regime in Iran against independent trade unions in Iran and their members.  CODIR further calls on the Iranian authorities to sign and implement ILO Conventions 87 and 98 which concern the freedom of workers to join trade unions of their choice and engage in trade union activities respectively.

Below we publish the recent statements released by the SWTSBC.

  • Continued pressure on the Syndicate of Workers of Vahed Company / Pressure on Reza Shahabi

According to the statement of the prosecutor’s office, made out to Reza Shahabi’s wife, this imprisoned worker must remain in prison until 8 January 2019.

Despite the fact that medical leave is considered as part of the prison term, the prosecutor’s office has recorded the five months of medical leave of this imprisoned worker as absence without prior authorisation, even though it had previously been approved by the coroner’s office [responsible for the granting of such leave in Iran]. In addition, while serving his prison sentence, a new case was filed against him and the court sentenced Mr. Shahabi to another one year in jail to run immediately consecutive to the first term.  Therefore Mr. Shahabi has to remain in prison for another year and five months until 8 January 2019.

The prosecutor’s claim of an unauthorised five-month absence from Mr. Shahabi’s original six-year term is made contrary to the content of a letter Mr. Shahabi has seen (at the offices of Rajai Shahr prison on August 8th) according to which his last day of imprisonment should have been September 9, 2015. Mr. Shahabi entered Rajai Shahr prison on Wednesday 9 August and so far his family and colleagues have not been able to contact him.

The Syndicate of Workers of Vahed Company strongly condemns the continuing pressure on the SWTSBC, and the imprisonment of a member of its executive committee, and calls for an immediate release of Reza Shahabi and the revoking of all sentences against him and other executive members of the SWTSBC, Mr. Ebrahim Madadi and Mr. Davoud Razavi, as well as other imprisoned workers and labour activists.

 The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate)

August 12, 2017

  • Reza Shahabi was returned to Rajai Shahr Prison

Reza Shahabi, a member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC), was forced to return to Rajai Shahr prison at the Prosecutor’s insistence on the morning of 9 August 2017.

This imprisoned worker and member of the Syndicate, who was on medical leave from prison following two major operations on his neck and back and with a bail of 200 Million Tomans [approx. £60,000], had been threatened to return to prison or the property of the bail provider would be seized. The seizure order was issued recently.

The Tehran Prosecutor insisted on Mr. Shahabi’s return despite the official coroner’s approval of his remaining on medical leave for the rest of his prison term. When Mr. Shahabi returned to Rajai Shahr Prison on the 8 August, so as to prevent the bail property from being seized, the prison authorities told him that “your release letter is in your files. Come back to the prison tomorrow morning and collect your personal belongings”.

Accordingly, on the morning of 9 August, Mr. Shahabi, along with his wife and a member of the Syndicate, went to Rajai Shahr Prison to collect his belongings. Although he himself witnessed the letter of his release – dated 15 September 2015 – he was taken into the prison on the premise that he had been on an unapproved absence since 2014.  At the time of publication of this statement there is no information on his current situation.

The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company strongly condemns the imprisonment of Reza Shahabi, the excessive and illegal pressures put upon him,  declares that such pressures will not undermine the determination of the workers of Sherkat Vahed Bus Company to achieve and exercise their legitimate rights.

The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate)

9 August 2017

  • Statement by the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC)

Reza Shahabi, the imprisoned worker and a leading member of the SWTSBC, who had been on medical leave from detention, was forced to return to Rajai Shahr prison on the morning of 9 August 2017. His bail was cancelled by the Prosecutor pursuant to a seizure of the bailed property.  The SWTSBC strongly condemns his forceful return in the following statement: We Condemn Reza Shahabi’s re-imprisonment

Reza Shahabi, a member of the SWTSBC Executive Committee was forced to return to Rajai Shahr prison and a repossession order was made by the Prosecutor on property put up as his bail, today 8th of August 2017.

Mr. Shahabi had been arrested by security forces on 12 June 2010 whilst at work, driving a bus transporting passengers. After enduring 19 months of torment in solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin prison, he was sentenced to six years imprisonment, a 7.5 Million Toman fine and a five-year ban on any trade union activity.

Reza Shahabi sustained serious injuries to his back and neck as a result of violence meted out by the security forces during his arrest and long intolerable interrogations. On three occasions, he resorted to hunger strike after being refused specialist medical care outside prison. This member of the SWTSBC was finally moved to hospital as a result of his serious medical conditions, compounded by the hunger strikes, and underwent two operations on his back and neck. After approval by the official coroner, he was finally allowed to recover outside of prison for a period of three months.  Although any medical leave granted should be counted as part of the prisoner’s term, the Prosecutor alleges that the medical leave had not in fact been approved and on this basis ordered the seizure of the bail property.

The SWTSBC condemns the actions of the Prosecutor in returning Reza Shahabi to prison and demands his unconditional release together with the revocation of the prison sentences of Mr. Ebrahim Madadi and Mr. Davoud Razavi, the other two other members of the Executive Committee of the syndicate and other detained worker and teachers.

The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate)

8 August 2017





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