I had a meeting with the Iran campaigner from the International Secretariat of Amnesty yesterday to discuss campaigning around Shahrokh and Reza. She will be talking to AI UKs Iran campaigner to discuss getting local Amnesty groups to campaign around Shahrokh and Reza. She will also be looking at opening case files on Shahrokh and Reza and monitoring their situation.
Keep tuned for further information as I have it.
On behalf of the Shahrokh and Reza campaign
Earlier this week Newcastle Unison Local Government branch agreed to publicise the petition for Shahrokh and Reza to their members.
Would your union branch support Shahrokh and Reza? Consider passing this motion and let us know if you do!
FREE SHAHROKH ZAMANI AND REZA SHAHABI
This branch notes
1. That Shahrokh Zamani of the Tehran painters’ union has been in prison since the start of 2012, and Reza Shahabi of the Tehran bus workers’ union since 2010, on charges of “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” – ie working to establish independent trade unions.
2. That both have suffered severe mistreatment, torture and denial of medical facilities in prison.
3. That both have gone on hunger strike in protest at their own treatment but also the treatment of other prisoners.
More info: http://freeshahrokh.wordpress.com
This branch believes
1. That more than three decades after Iranian workers toppled the Shah’s brutal dictatorship, they are repressed by a similarly despotic regime.
2. That the Islamic Republic of Iran represses any attempt to set up independent unions or organise strikes. Beatings, (often unlawful) arrest and torture are routinely used against labour activists.
3. That despite this Iranian workers continue to struggle. September and October 2014 saw important struggles by iron ore, car, ceramics and sugar workers.
4. That Western-imposed economic sanctions against Iran are making the situation for Iranian workers harder, both economically and politically.
The union branch resolves:
1. To circulate information about the campaign to free Shahrokh and Reza to our members in our newsletter and on our website.
2. To encourage members to sign the petition and write to their MP asking them to sign the EDM tabled by John McDonnell MP.
3. To invite a speaker from the Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network and make a donation of £__.
4. To issue a short statement and organise a video message to show solidarity.
Twitter users may have seen this morning that Peter Tatchell tweeted about the campaign:
Big thank you to Peter for his work publicising this campaign.
If you use twitter please retweet and get sharing #FreeShahrokhandReza
We attended the London rally for Kobane in solidarity with Kurdish (and others) resistance against ISIS on Saturday. At the rally we collected over 150 signatures, including that of Peter Tatchell who has agreed to help publicise the campaign.
Thank you to all of those who helped us gather signatures and to those who signed.
Thank you to all of you who have signed the petition to free Shahrokh Zamani. We recently heard that Shahrokh’s hunger strike ended after a month last April when he was moved back to Gohardasht prison. He is however weak and suffering illnesses associated with his hunger strike.
Whilst in Rajaie prison Shahrokh was with another imprisoned trade unionist, Reza Shahabi. Reza is the treasurer of the Tehran Bus Workers Union and has been imprisoned on similar charges. Reza has severe health problems from torture yet has been denied access to health care multiple times. He recently got one operation he needs but he is still imprisoned for the crime of being a trade unionist.
We have extended our campaign to include Reza and added new materials to our blog – https://shahrokhzamani.wordpress.com/
Please consider helping us by doing one of the following things:
• Take a petition around your union branch meeting, ask your work colleagues to sign or pass a petition around a university lecture you are in.
• Organise a regular street stall; make banners and placards, ask members of the public to sign the petition.
• Share the online petition – bit.ly/freeshahrokhandreza
• Change your facebook and twitter pictures to support Shahrokh and Reza.
• Write to your MP and ask them to sign the Early Day Motion tabled by John McDonnell.
• Join us outside the Iranian Embassy, London on February 11 to hand in our petition signatures.
The following motion was passed unanimously at the National Union of Students executive on the 16h September
Shahrokh Zamani and Reza Shahabi solidarity
Proposed by: Daniel Cooper
Seconded by: Shreya Paudel, James Elliot, Vonnie Sandlan, Sal Enghlert
1. The ongoing imprisonment and severe mistreatment of Iranian trade unionists Shahrokh Zamani (painters’ union) and Reza Shahabi (Tehran bus workers’ union).
2. To express our solidarity with comrades Shahrokh Zamani and Reza Shahabi, write to the Iranian government and embassy demanding their release, ask Constituent Members to do the same.
25 July, 2014 – 18:00 – 19:30
Iranian Embassy, 16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT
Come to the Iranian Embassy to show solidarity with Shahrokh Zamani and demand that the Iranian authorities release him immediately – trade union activism should not be a crime!
A friend of Shahrokh, Reza Shahabi has also been unjustly imprisoned for working within the Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He has been imprisoned since 2010 for “gathering and colluding against state security” and “spreading propaganda against the system” . His sentence is 4 years in prison, 5 years ban from trade union activities and a 70 million rial fine.
He started his latest hunger strike on the 1st of July and his condition is deteriorating.
Come to the Iranian Embassy to show solidarity with Shahrokh Zamani and Reza Shahabi and demand that the Iranian authorities release them immediately – trade union activism should not be a crime!
Find more information about Reza’s current condition here: https://hra-news.org/en/reza-shahabi-continues-hunger-strike-hospital
For Facebook event click here
Legendary US rap group Atmosphere, founder-artists of independent label Rhymesayers, have shown their support for the campaign to free Shahrokh by retweeting the petition to their 159,000 followers. Continue reading
The following is the text of an early day motion that is to be presented to the British Parliament House of Commons in on the 4th of June 2014.
“IMPRISONMENT AND MALTREATMENT OF SHAHROKH ZAMANI AND OTHER TRADE UNIONISTS IN IRAN
That this House notes with great concern that Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Painters’ Union, was charged with “endangering national security” and “participating in an illegal organisation” following his attempts to build an independent trade union and was then physically and psychologically abused, denied medication, denied access to visitors and has recently been transferred to the notorious Ghezel Hesar prison; notes the recent 47-day hunger strike conducted by Mr Zamani in protest against maltreatment of himself and fellow prisoners; urges the Iranian government to release Mr Zamani unconditionally; and calls upon the UK Government to press the Iranian government to respect trade union rights and International Labour Organisation conventions.”
We thank the office of John McDonnell MP (Labour) for taking up this issue.
Numerous students and activists have been taking photos with our Shahrokh Zamani posters to raise awareness of Shahrokh’s imprisonment.
Please feel free to do something similar, and post it to twitter and social media with the hashtag #FreeShahrokh
Workers’ Liberty Members