The Centre for the Defender of Human Rights, which is presided over by Shirin Ebadi, has objected to the continued detention of some teachers due to their trade union activities and asked the government to provide the necessary grounds for activities by the representatives of the civil society, in which trade unions are a central component and embodiment.
This people-instituted organization has also reported the various problems and obstacles that have been – and still are being – placed on the path of the development of the civil society in Iran and has referred to the confrontational actions against the labour activists by the security and judicial organs, which in some cases have led to the detention and imprisonment of these activists.
Therefore, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has announced that trade union activists are under currently pressure despite the emphatic parameters set by the fundamental and primary laws, and in spite of the repeated emphases by the President of the 11th Government on the need to reduce the government’s role and involvement, and delegate to the people the affairs which fall outside the formal remit and mandate of the state – a clear example and manifestation of which is the activities of the trade unions.
Furthermore, in its report, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, this people-instituted organization has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran under the three main headings of: “Civil and political rights”, “social and economic rights”, and “cultural heritage and the environment”.
According to the website of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights, the text of the report by the said centre for the month of Shahrivar 1394, which has been published on 4 of Mehr 1394 [26 September 2015], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in August-September 2015
The academic year of 1394-1395 (2015-2016) has started while around 10 teachers are still in prison. The current school year has got underway in a situation where teachers’ union protests have been considered as acts of conspiracy against the national security, and as such, these protests have led to the arrest and detention of a number of teachers. The academic year has begun while a teacher like Rasul Bodaghi – who has completed his sentence of six years imprisonment – should go back to the prison for three more years according to the sentence that has been imposed on him by the court.
The new school year has started under circumstances where the peaceful protests of the teachers against administrative discrimination, and the inadequacy of their salaries and benefits have been ignored for a number of years now.
The academic year has started and according to various reports by the officials of the Ministry of Education, many children have been excluded from education due to poverty. According to the Department of Education in Sistan Va Baluchestan Province, more than 50 per cent of the schools in that province require a complete and fundamental repairs and the venue for about 30 per cent of these schools are traditional rural tents [Original: Kapar].
Unfortunately, we have been witnessing the spread of poverty among various social groups and an example is the intense pressure on the wage earning strata, such as teachers and workers. This situation is because of the wrong economic policies and financial abuses both in past and the present, to the extent that even some of the incumbent officials have acknowledged them.
In addition, confrontational postures adopted by the security and judicial organs against the labour activists could be noted as an important example of the difficulties and obstacles that have been imposed on the development of the civil society; to the extent that some of them are currently in prison merely because of participating in trade union activities.
In addition to these restrictions and deprivations, we can note the lack of adequate medical facilities in prisons to treat prisoners in emergency cases to the extent that during the month of Shahrivar, we were witness to the silent death of Shahrokh Zamani – a jailed labour activist – who lost his life in prison due to the lack of medical facilities and equipment there to provide him with treatment.
This is while improving the economic situation and the development of the civil society were among the most important election promises of Mr Rouhani.
The report also provides a summary of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Shahrivar [23 August to 22 September 2015], as follows. This report is based on information published by various media channels and websites, whose accuracy has been verified. The report is appearing under three separate sections, and in both Farsi and English languages.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in August-September 2015
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, about 35 people were arrested and detained and the names of them have been specified as: Mahmud Beheshti Langerudi, Mehdi Bohluli, Mohammadreza Niknejad and Saeid Mansur Musavi – four trade union activists – Siamak Molamohammadi, Mehraban Keshavarzi, Sepehr Saheban, Hossein Jandaqian, Kiana Karampur and Ghazal Moqadam – six university student activists – Ali Nejati, Mohammad Reza Karimi – two civil activists – Shapur Reshnu – a political activist; Ali Mohammad Jahangiri, Amir Rahimkhani, Meysam Jolani and Morteza Parvin – four civil activists – Amir Rahminkhani’s mother – an ordinary citizen; Arash Zad and Mohsen Sadeqinia – two bloggers – Zabihollah Raofi – a Baha’i citizen; and Ali Shakuri Rad – the Secretary General of the Party for the Unity of the Nation of Islamic Iran [Farsi: Hezb-e Ettehad-e Mellat-e Iran-e Eslami].
On the other hand, some news sources have reported the detention of Naeimeh Taqavi, Mahnaz Farhad, Azimeh Sepehri, Arezu Moqadam Sepehr, Soraya Ahdi, Naeimeh Ahdi, Arezu Ahdi, Haydeh Derakhshani, Mahmud Amin, Akhundi, Baharin Asgarieh and Maryam Amiri – 12 members of the Mystic Ring (Erfan-e Halqeh) – as well as Milad Darwish – a cultural activist.
It should be noted that some of the detainees were released temporarily on bail after a few days until the date of their trial.
2. Keyvan Mehergan – a journalist – was sent to prison to spend one year in jail; Vahed Kholusi – a Baha’i citizen – was sent to prison to serve five years in prison; Hadi Eqbali – a political activist – was dispatched to jail prison in order to serve an imprisonment sentence of eight and half years, and finally, Seyyed Aliakbar Musavi Quheh – a civil activist – was sent to prison to serve a one year term there.
On the other hand, Bahareh Hedayat – a university student – should spend two more years in the prison because of the decision to enforce her suspended sentence, despite the fact that she had already completed her original custodial sentence. Also, Rasul Bodaqi – a trade union activist – has to spend three more years in jail because the court has imposed a sentence on him. Saeid Razavi Faqih – a political activist and journalist – for his part, should spend three and half more years in prison due to a new sentence imposed on him by the court.
The spokesperson of the Judiciary also has reported the arrest and imprisonment of an individual for taking part in the protest against the presidential election results in 1388 [June 2009]. The Judiciary has not announced the name of this person, who has been described as a fugitive, who had been sentenced in absentia. In addition, Tasnim News Agency has reported the arrest and imprisonment of two members of the Mystic Ring (Erfan-e Halqeh). The two individuals have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment in total.
3. Mahmud Salehi – a labour activist – was sentenced to nine years in jail; Arash Sadeqi – a civil activist – was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment term; Golrokh Ebrahimi – a civil activist – was sentenced to six years imprisonment term; Navid Kamran – a civil activist – was sentenced to 18 months in prison and Behnam Musivand – a civil activist – was given a prison sentence of 18 months. Mohammad Reza Nekunam – a religious activist who is currently serving in prison – was sentenced to two years imprisonment; Ali Shariati – a political activist who is currently in jail – was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in jail; Mohammad Saeid Hosseinzadeh Movahed – a civil activist who is currently serving a sentence in prison – was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by the Appeal Court; Sohiel Babadi – a political prisoner who is currently in prison – was sentenced to seven more years jail term; Behnam Ebrahimzadeh – a labour activist who is currently serving his term in prison – was sentenced to a further term of seven years, ten months and 18 days, and Alireza Rasuli – a political activist who is currently in prison – was sentenced to another term of three years in jail.
Also, the spokesperson of the Judiciary has reported the issuance of ten years imprisonment sentences against two individuals who have been accused of spying for the United States and Israel.
4. The trial sessions of Saeid Shirzad – a civil activist (whose trial was held without giving him any advance prior notice) and Rufia Pakzad, Sudabeh Mehdi Nejad and Nazi Tahqiqi – three Baha’i citizens – have been held.
5. Mohammad Abdipur and Jamil Rast Khadiv – two labour activists – and Hossein Musavian – a member of the Iran National Front [Farsi: Jebheh ye Melli-e Iran] – were summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence. In addition, Hamid Reza Jalayipur – a university professor – was summoned to the magistrate court but was duly released on the basis of a previously agreed bail.
B) Situation Regarding Cultural Rights
1. The press jury has found Majid Omidi Shahraki – the editor in chief of “Iran Daily” – and “Qanun” and “Ruzan” newspapers guilty.
2. The relevant officials have prevented the holding of a live concert by [veteran classical Iranian music singer] Shahram Nazeri in Tabriz, as well as a planned concert by Ali Akbar Moradi in Tehran.
3. Mahyareh Nadaf and Ava Yazdeli – two Baha’i citizens – have been prevented from continuing their university education.
C) Other Instances of Human Rights Abuse
1. Some 13 individuals were executed in this month. The complete names of some of them are still not clear but judicial authorities or government-controlled media have confirmed their executions. Some of the names and details are as follows:
“A” has been executed in Mashhad. State-controlled media has said that he had been convicted of the crime of rape. “A-Q” has been executed in Bandarabbas in public. The Judiciary’s official has announced that his crime was rape. “H-N”, “N-B”, “H-M” and “Sh-P” were executed in Rasht. The Judiciary’s official has said they had been found guilty of the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. The Judiciary sources have also reported the execution of two individuals in Rasht due to the crime of possession and transportation of drugs. “R-F” has been executed in Sari and “A-Z” was executed in the city of Bandarabbas. According to a Judiciary official, both individuals had been convicted of the crime of murder. State-controlled media have reported the execution of anindividual in Birjand due to the crime of first degree murder. “Saeid Zargari” was executed in Ardestan [in Yazd Province] in public. State-controlled media reported that his crimes were robbery, abduction and murder. In addition, “Behruz Alekhani” – a political prisoner – was executed in Orumiyeh.
2. A Judiciary official has reported that a person – whose name was not given – has been given the sentence of lashing in public in the town of Parsian due to acts of hooliganism and thuggery.
3. The health situation of some political prisoners is still reported to be unfavourable to the extent that some of them – such as Esmaeil Gerami Moqadam, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Zeynam Jalalian, Sediqeh Moradi, Saeid Hosseinzadeh, Mostafa Azizi, Narges Mohammadi, Afshin Baymani and Asu Rostami – are ill but no serious steps have been taken for their treatment.
4. Saman Nasim was transferred to the Central Prison of Orumiyeh, Yunes Aqaian was transferred to Mahabad Prison, Aliakbar Baghani was transferred to the ward No.2 of Rajaei Shahr Prison, Mohammad Amin Agushi was moved to the quarantine of Zahedan’s prison, Saeid Sangar was transferred to Orumiyeh Prison and Masud Kordpur was moved to the Bukan Prison. It should be noted these transfers have been carried out without any specific reasons and in contravention of the regulations and rules governing the prisons’ internal affairs.
5. The Police has reported the closure and official seal of two “Garden Halls” [Outdoor venues for weddings and other celebrations] for what it describes as their failure to observe the Islamic tenets and codes.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. Reports concerning the situation regarding social and economic also point to the continued presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas during this month to the extent that the payments of the salaries of about 300 workers of “Sepanta International” drilling company have been delayed for some 11 months. In addition, some 100 workers of “Sadid Rikhtehgar” have not been paid for eight months, 200 of Zabol’s municipality workers for four months, around 150 workers of Barnaki Mine for four months, around 254 workers of “Galtut” coal mine for three months, 200 workers of “Pars Metal” Factory for two months, 150 workers of PVC Iran Factory for six months, 300 workers of “Pars Milang” Factory for two months, and 190 workers of “Fulad Alborz” for four months. Also, around 400 workers of “Sadad” contracting company have not been paid for five months; around 150 workers of the construction project of Salamat Barekat Hospital have not received their salaries for three months; 500 workers of “Zemestan Yurt” coal mine have not been paid for seven months; and 70 workers of “Lent Telda Khavaran” factory remain unpaid for some 14 months. In addition, there are other cases of delayed payment of salaries and wages, including: 150 workers of Tabas municipality for three months, around 120 contract workers of “Eastern Alborz Coal Mine” for four months, some of the Kashi Kavir’s workers for three months, 300 workers of Shisheh Abgineh Factory for four months and 80 workers of Tang Sorkh Dam for eight month, at the time completion of this report.
2. There are also many instances of job losses among workers and salary earners. Some of these include: Baqer Rezvani Nina – a locksmith ; 186 contract workers of Combine Production Factory of Arak, 85 contract workers of “Shishes Abgineh” Factory; 35 workers of “Pardis Sarampaj” in Khorasan Razavi Province (whose contracts came to an end), three workers of Simorgh Butchery, two workers of Cement Factory in Dashtestan, two workers of “Luleh Va Navard Safa” (due to the termination of their contracts), 25 fixed term contract security personnel at the Keyvan Energy Company (due to the expiry of their contracts), and 39 fixed term contract workers at the “Karun Cement” Factory (due to the termination of their contracts).
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
1. A relevant state official has reported the destruction of Kuh Mobarak Castle near the [south eastern town of] Jask. The history and civilization heritage of the castle date back to the period of the Sassanid Dynasty [the last dynasty of the pre-Islamic Iran].
2. The density of dust particles in the air has reached levels which are 22 times higher than the permissible level in the city of Ahvaz on a number of days during the month of Shahrivar.
At the end of its report for the month of Shahrivar 1394, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has announced that trade union activists are still being subjected to pressures in Iran, despite their recognition by the primary laws of the country, and in spite of the repeated emphases by the Head of the 11th Government on the need to reduce the government’s supervisory role and to delegate to the people the non-state affairs – a clear example and manifestation of which is trade union activities).
To that end, the Centre for the Defender of Human Rights has voiced its objection to the arrest and continued detention of a number of teachers due to their trade union activities. The Centre has called on the government to prepare the necessary grounds for free activities by the representatives of the civil society – in which trade unions are a central component and embodiment.
Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.
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