Shahrokh Zamani Please retweet or copy this tweet to show your support @HassanRouhani Release imprisoned trade unionist Shahrokh Zamani now and recognise ILO Conventions 87 and 98 — Union Solidarity Int (@USILive) April 1 …


Shahrokh Zamani

Shahrokh Zamani

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The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called upon the labour and trade movement internationally to take urgent action in calling for the release of Shahrokh Zamani, a trade unionist currently on hunger strike in Iran.

Zamani was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for his pro trade union activities.  Arrested in June 2011, Zamani was convicted of charges including “acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system” and “spreading propaganda against the establishment”.  These charges are widely used by the Iranian state to intimidate and imprison those engaged in trade union activity.

Zamani has been on hunger strike since 8th March 2014. The hunger strike began in the Gohar Dasht prison in solidarity with other political prisoners.  Three days into the action the prison management decided to transfer of Zamani to Ghezel Hesar prison, with no explanation or justification.  In protest Zamani continued his hunger strike.

He has spent eight days in solitary confinement since his transfer to Ghezel Hesar prison.  So far he has lost seventeen kilos of his body weight.

Zamani is a member of the Syndicate of Paint Workers of Tehran but the regime in Iran does not recognise independent trade unions and many trade unionists have been arrested for attempting to organise such bodies.

Sharon Burrow, the President of ITUC has written to the Iranian president demanding Zamani’s freedom from prison.  In her letter, Ms Burrow refers to Zamani’s case and expresses concern about his treatment.  The issue of his transfer to Ghezel Hesar prison, where 20,000 prisoners including 13,000 prisoners on drug and criminal charges are held, and the threats to the safety of political prisoners there is also mentioned.

The ITUC President has called for the release of Zamani and demanded his right to return to his work.

Alex Gordon, British leading trade unionist and President of CODIR, has already signed a joint statement “holding the Islamic Republic of Iran responsible for Mr. Zamani’s health and well-being”. The joint statement signed by trade unionists and progressive personalities globally demands “immediate and unconditional release for all incarcerated workers and political prisoners in Iran.”

“Solidarity work in defence of Iranian workers and trade unionists, who are engaged in a difficult struggle for better pay and conditions of work, is a vital part of CODIR’s activities”, said Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi.  “We must work to ensure that the reality of life inside Iran for those fighting for basic rights is brought to the attention of their colleagues across the world.”

CODIR regards the current period as an important opportunity to put effective pressure upon the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected last year on a promise of reform inside Iran.

CODIR is keen to make sure that Rouhani’s declared willingness to reform is tested on the domestic front, where there has been insignificant movement on the question of trade union rights and the freeing of political prisoners.

“Those supporting Iranian trade unions must push to get the Iranian government to positively respond to their demands, for better pay and conditions and for trade union rights”, continued Mr Ahmadi. “We call on the government of Iran to enact ILO conventions 87 and 98 without delay.”

Almost a year after the presidential election in which Hassan Rouhani was elected on a platform of heralding a new era of respect for human and democratic rights, nothing has changed noticeably for people of Iran.  The economy continues to struggle under the weight of economic sanctions.  The regime’s economic policy has brought more factory closures, unemployment, unpaid wages and poverty pay.

CODIR has called for protest letters and appeals for the release of Shahrokh Zamani and other detained trade unionists in Iran to be sent immediately to the following:

Or by Twitter: @khamenei_ir;  @HassanRouhani

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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