Trade Unionist Reza Shahabi on Hunger Strike

Board member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Reza Shahabi began a hunger strike on Tuesday 22 November. Shahabi is a leading trade unionist and a symbol of working class resistance to the theocratic regime and begun his strike in protest to the 18 months of imprisonment and legal limbo. Shahabi has been in prison since 12 June 2011 and has been subject to the regime’s tormenters in the notorious Evin Prison. Already Shahabi is suffering with from heart and kidney problems, severe kneck pain and it is possible he may lose control over his left and arm and leg because of the extreme pressure applied to his spine.

Hands Off the People of Iran calls for the release of all political prisoners from the torture houses of the theocratic regime.


Syndicate of Bus drivers condemns the continuance of detention of Reza Shahabi, Ebrahim Madadi and Mansoor Osanloo

mansour-osanloo-ITUC-300x225We condemn the continuance of Reza Shahabi’s detention and approval of one year sentence for Mansoor Osanloo.

Reza Shahabi board member of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Bus Drivers Syndicate was arrested on June 12, 2010, and has been in a limbo in Evin prison for more than 3 months.

This Syndicate board member has been suffering from pain in the lumbar region and the neck. He has been in contact with his family through phone calls on sundays and visits with them in cabin on Thursdays. We have also been notified of the approval of one year sentence for Mansoor Osanloo based on charges of propaganda against the regime which was issued by the primary court after and he is forced to serve the total of 6 years in prison including the 5 years he was given due to his activities in 2005 (1384 persian year).

Also Ebrahim Madadi another board member of this Syndicate whom has been imprisoned in Evin prison over 2 years and is serving his 3.5 years sentence due to union activities has been deprived of any vacation time.  Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburb Bus Company condemns the continuance of detention of Reza Shahabi, Ebrahim Madadi and the approval of one year sentence for Mansoor Osanloo and has asked for the release of all imprisoned workers activists.

Syndicate of Vaahed workers, Tehran and Suburbs Bus

September 2010

Source: Syndicate of Vaahed

سندیکای واحد: ادامه بازداشت و احکام صادره علیه فعالین سندیکای اتوبوسرانی را محکوم میکنیم

سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد ادامه باز داشت رضا شهابی ،ابراهیم مددی و تایید حکم یکسال زندان برای منصور اسالو را محکوم می کند و خواهان آزادی همه فعالین کارگری زندانی می باشد

ادامه بازداشت رضا شهابی و تایید حکم یکسال زندان برای منصور اسالو را محکوم می کنیم

رضا شهابی عضو هیئت مدیره سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد اتوبوسرانی تهران و حومه که از تاریخ 22 خرداد ماه 1389 دستگیرشده ، بیش از 3 ماه به صورت بلاتکلیف در زندان اوین به سر می برد

این عضو هیئت مدیره سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد به دلیل درد از ناحیه کمر و گردن در حالی در زندان می باشد که روز های یکشنبه به صورت تلفنی وپنجشنبه ها از طریق ملاقات کابینی با خانواده خود در ارتباط می باشد همچنین با خبر شدیم حکم یکسال زندان منصور اسالو که به اتهام تبلیغ علیه نظام در دادگاه بدوی صادر شده بود با گذشت بیش از بیست روز و عدم ارائه اعتراض  برای رسیدگی در دادگاه های تجدید نظر استان تهران به قطعیت رسیده و نامبرده که به دلیل فعالیت های صنفی در سال 1384 به 5 سال زندان محکوم شده بود با تایید یکسال باید مدت 6 سال را در زندان باشد

همچنین ابراهیم مددی دیگر عضو هیئت مدیره سندیکا با گذشت بیش از 2 سال که به دلیل اجرای حکم 3.5 سال زندان به خاطر فعالیت صنفی در زندان اوین به سر می برد همچنان از امکانات استفاده از مرخصی   بی بهره می باشد

سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد ادامه باز داشت رضا شهابی ،ابراهیم مددی و تایید حکم یکسال زندان برای منصور اسالو را محکوم می کند و خواهان آزادی همه فعالین کارگری زندانی می باشد

با امید به گسترش صلح و عدالت در همه جهان

سندیکای کارگران شرکت واحد
اتوبوسرانی تهران و حومه

Never forget! Never forgive! The massacres of 1988

khavaranIn the first of a series of articles for Hands Off the People of Iran Aida Foruzan looks at the mass murder carried out by the theocratic regime in the summer of 1988.

In the summer of 1988 the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran committed one of the greatest crimes against humanity, they massacred at least 10,000 Iranian political activists, some of them only a sympathizer or reader of a political paper, the statistics which detail how many were murdered varies from 5000  this is the number of the ones who are defiantly known and identified, many who got executed including a family member of my own are not on this list) to 100,000 the statistic that Mujahedin have given (which seems exaggerated). I believe that the the quantity is not important when it comes to killing human beings for the way they think, even if the Islamic republic had killed only one person in this way every person responsible for this had to answer and pay for it, but still of course it is important to follow-up the exact statistics of the number of the people who lost their lives in that deadly summer, but falling in the trap of just arguing about the number which is done by some political tendencies consciously, and some individuals with out knowing the consequences is just what helps the Islamic Republic, because the statistics are vary drastically! The Islamic Republic is using this disagreement between political groups and individuals and witnesses to confuse people, of course the fundamentalists and the reformists (whom now days consider them selves as the opposition to Ahmadinejad’s government) have different reasons and attitudes doing this which I will discuss soon in another article.

In this article I want to go through why we should not fall in the trap of numbers there are different reasons why we should not emphasize and put too much time on this. Firstly logically we can not! We can never be sure how many people exactly died in that summer, before the fall of the regime and having access to the governmental documents of those days it is impossible to find a exact number, people who are trying to find the number using the names of the people who got executed and their relatives declared their names to the UN or other international organizations are never going to be close to the real number because the names are usually given by the families or sometimes friends who were in the same prison with them and got out alive. There are many families (specially from small towns or villages) who never sent out the name of their executed beloved ones. Some of them feared that the regime would make life harder for them, some were frankly threatened by the regime that they should be silent or wait for revenge and some (not many of course) were religious and a supporter of the regime so obviously they didn’t give out the name (I know people who gave up their own children). Some were illiterate or living in very small towns and villages and had no connection to send out the name, or they did not have the knowledge to know doing so is needed and finally some were very depressed after loosing their lost ones and simply they didn’t think that giving out a name or trying to revile the murderers is going to ease their pain.

People who think that the number of the executed is close to the number of the identified names, may argue that the families were not the only sources for these names, I would answer no some of the executed people were among the known leaders and some of the names were reported by the witnesses who survived, but as we know according to the testimony of the witnesses for example,
out of a section with 250 people in Evin prison only 35 remained alive, so it is possible that in some part of smaller prisons every one has been killed and there are no witnesses, or there are a few witnesses who live in Iran or for any reason they have not witnessed what happened to Mujahedin or leftists. Many families were not sure if they were in prison or in the partisan camps and were never informed of their deaths.

Above I discussed some of the reasons why we can not believe that the number of the executions is a close number to the names that we have, on the other hand making up numbers (like Mujahedin are accused of doing it) is not going to help reviling this great crime and seeking justice. The attitude that leads to making up numbers by guess work and without sources is an attitude which does not really respect the value of human life, the ones who are doing this probably think very pragmatically that if they raise the numbers people are going to be more concerned and the leaders of the Islamic Republic have to face justice sooner. What they forget is that making up numbers has only helped the Islamic Republic so far to get out of this case in the international courts and in the minds of some people, they forget that the life of any human being is sacred and any dictatorship which takes a life has to pay back for it.

Arguing about the number has led us to an endless fight which will never end until we get the official documents. Firstly for this happen we have to fight for the collapse of the theocratic regime. This disagreement has been helping many to have an excuse for not opposing the theocratic regime, above all western media which makes hundreds of documentaries against the Cuban regime for having political prisoners and what Stalin did during the 30’s have kept almost quiet for the past decade over one the greatest mass murders in history. This useless fight about the numbers is one of the reasons that some of the tendencies of the European left which support the Islamic republic for being anti imperialist! (a very anti-Marxist, anti-socialist and opportunistic reason!) These groups have been able to keep defending the Islamic Republic without feeling responsible to explain and condemn what happened in the summer 1988 in Iran.

But the ones who are using it most of all are the former members of the regime, the reformist wing who consider themselves as the opposition these days, to hide their bloody hands behind their back and fade their fingerprints from the mass graves of a revolutionary generation.

What is to be done?

I think, we should admit that we can not have the exact numbers yet, I am sure the day  is not far away when we will have access to the full details of this crime, but until that day we should act and agitate over the facts that we have. In the summer of 1988 thousands of political prisoners who had already been put through a trials and detention were mass murdered by the orders of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, ayatollah Syed Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini, they had no chance to defend themselves and most of them were killed after answering negative to questioning on whether they prayed, believed in god and rejected their political organisations in a so called court.  Court sessions were held for 2 or 3 minutes and one Mullah was the only person present in the room in many cases, they sentenced thousands of prisoners to death, they killed them in the most severe ways some were hanged, some of them were put all together in a room and exploded many never got the chance to even write a goodbye letter.

They buried them in mass graves with their cloths on, never told their families were they were buried and threatened their families to be silent. One of these mass graves has been found today, it is called: Khavaran and some of the families followed the vans that came out of Evin prison and saw the bodies of their loved ones being buried all together in these area in the east of Tehran, even now after 22 years the people who go there to mourn their loved ones or to remember their comrades and friends are usually arrested, beaten, insulted and mistreated.

These are the facts that we have for sure, these are things no one can question or deny, and we have to stop fighting about the details we can not be sure of and condemn the ones responsible for this crime by any means possible. There are some young brave Iranian lawyers in exile nowadays who believe and are trying to prove that the mass murders in the summer of 1988 in Iran was a genocide, killing defenseless people who belonged to one generation and had a different way of thinking.

In the next article I will discuss more about what happened in the summer of  1988 and the attitudes of the different wings of the regime towards this event after 22 years and their attitude of the executions they have committed in the past 30 years. I will also look at the reasons why some activists do not like to attract any attention to the crimes of 1988.

I want to end my article in the memory of Mojtaba my cousin, who was killed in summer 1988, he was 17 when he was arrested, he was a sympathizer of Mujahedin and was arrested with an illegal paper. He was only a school student so he was told to write something asking for forgiveness, he didn’t do it and as a reader of the Mujahedin’s paper he was sentenced to life in prison! During his prison time once he went on a two month long hunger strike which was the reason the other prisoners started calling him Bobby Sands out of respect, in the last time he met his father in prison, he told him: they are doing chemical exams on us, the things that they want to use against Iraq in the war first they try it on us, he looked very pale and under his eyes had turned purple, after that he never got a chance to see or call or write to his family, one year later, in that unforgettable summer of 1988, the manager of the prison called my uncle he said: “we want to release your son, get ready to celebrate”, my uncle and his family prepared a big party and invited a lot of people, my uncle went to evin prison in the day he was told, they put a blindfold on his eyes, and led him through some halls and floors, he said: “I felt strange and unsecured, I felt something is wrong but I never even guessed how cruel they could be.” They led him to a room finally and gave him a bag: inside was Mojtaba’s two shirts and a small towel and a few other personal things, they told him that his son was executed and that he should go home and not to speak a word about this otherwise the authorities “will take your daughter to same place that he is now! No we can not tell you were he is buried.”  My uncle went home and all the preparation for the party was spent for Mojtaba’s small funeral, when he is talking about Mojtaba’s childhood or a memory from him he puts his hand on the shoulder of his other son and tries to smile, Mojtaba’s name is not in any list, we never knew were they hide his warm and kind heart, but he and the memory of his braveness and his way of life remains among the family, and I strongly believe that the one’s who could not stand his social consciousness and human like way of living will one day pay for their guilt, and I know that none of us is never going to forget nor forgive their crimes.

Imprisoned Journalist Abdolreza Tajik Tells Sister, “I Was Violated”

197BBC Persian talks to Abdolreza Tajik’s sister on her recent visit with her brother in prison. According to Tajik, he was “violated in prison.” Tajik is currently detained in Evin prison.

Listen to the audio of interview in Persian

Abdolreza Tajik’s sister: After following up with the Prosecutor’s Office, I was able to get an appointment with [Tehran’s] Attorney General. After talking to him, the Prosecutor gave me visitation time [with my brother Abdolreza Tajik].

Two days before the visit, Abdolreza called home. On Thursday I went to visit him in prison. Abdolreza stated in the visit that [the agents who arrested him] had no arrest warrant. He was very upset and angry and said, “When they brought me in, on the first night of detention, in the presence of the Lieutenant Attorney General and the magistrate of branch 1, I was violated (my self respect and dignity were violated).”

I asked him to explain what he meant. I really didn’t know what he meant [by violation]. He offered no explanation and just said, “Tell the Attorney General or Mr. Sharif (Mr. Tajik’s lawyer). They will know.”  He asked to immediately meet with the Prosecutor and his lawyer so he can inform them of the issue.

BBC: After the visit, what actions did you take? Apparently, you wrote a letter to the Judiciary Chief?

Tajik’s sister: In the past ten days, I have written three letters to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO). You may not believe it, but I was at the AGO every other day asking for my questions [about Mr. Tajik’s ordeal] to be answered. Even if they don’t want to explain to me, I ask that he [I.e. the Prosecutor] and Mr. Sharif go and visit Abolreza. I have not received any reply. They say that no order about acting on my letter was given. Then, I went to the Judiciary Office and wrote a letter to Mr. Larijani (Head of the Judiciary). I explained to him the issue in question. I wrote that since AGO is not responding to my requests, I am writing to the higher authority. There, they told me that Mr. Larijani does not respond to these letters and they returned my letter. It wasn’t just me, my brother was there too, and he had signed the letter too. I took back the letter that now bore a stamp and mailed it to the Office of the Judiciary. I had not choice but to write the letter.

I am very distressed now. I feel the Attorney General and the Head of the Judiciary did not address my concern. I raised my voice so that they hear the voice of my brother, the voice of his innocence.

from Persian2English

Manchester solidarity demo against executions in Iran

On May 13th around 30 members of Hands Off the People of Iran along, Iranian students and exiles demonstrated in support of the general strike in Iranian Kurdistan and protest the executions of five political prisoners on May 9th in Evin prison. Those executed were school teacher and trade unionist Farzad Kamangar, Ali Haydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam-Houli and Mehdi Eslamian. We rallied outside the University of Manchester Students’ Union and the BBC building spreading leaflets and literature on the situation. There were speeches by Iranian refugees who explained the situation in Iran the recent repressive measures in both English and Farsi.

Chris Strafford from HOPI’s national steering committee condemned the executions and the ongoing torture and incarceration of political prisoners within Iran, he also spoke about the negative impact of sanctions and that the key task for socialists in the UK is to oppose sanctions and military threats whilst building solidarity with the truly democratic movements. Afterwards he read out a letter by Farzad Kamangar sent to other prisoners titled ‘Be Strong Comrades’ you can see the videos here and here.

Hands Off the People of Iran demands:

* The immediate end to executions in Iran
* The unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
* An end to the sanctions regime and imperialist threats

Below are some pictures of the day:




Iranian regime executes five political prisoners including teacher Farzad Kamangar

Five political prisoners were executed on May 9 2010 in Evin prison in Tehran. Farzad Kamangar, Ali Haydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam- Houli and Mehdi Eslamian were members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) . They were charged with membership of a Kurdish “anti-revolutionary” and  “moharebe” or waging war against God. Vicky Thompson, Welfare Officer at the University of Manchester Students’ Union posted this on her blog:

Farzad's mother holds up his picture
Farzad's mother holds up his picture

“Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and keep quiet?

Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death?”

– Farzad Kamangar, executed 09/05/10, aged just 32.

Kamangar, a Kurdish teacher activist, was executed today alongside four other political prisoners. Kamangar was arrested in 2006 and sentenced to death by hanging in February 2008 after a trial lasting 5 minutes. He had been tortured and had attempted suicide while in prison. When his family last visited him, he was unable even to walk. Kamangar was sentenced to death for the alleged “crimes” of endangering national security and enmity against god. Once again, this brings shame on those on the left who are – or have been – apologists for the Iranian state and its barbaric catalogue of human rights abuses.

Kamangar was executed alongside Ali Haydarian, Farhad Vakili,  Shirin Alam-Houli and Mehdi Eslamian. They were all members of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), described by the Islamic Republic of Iran as “counter-revolutionary”.  It appears that the executions are intended to quell support for anti-regime protests in Iran. Nonetheless, the families and supporters of those killed will be protesting outside Tehran University tomorrow.

“Mr Judge and Interrogator: when you were interrogating me, I couldn’t speak your language and couldn’t understand you. I learned Farsi in the past two years in the women’s section of the prison from my friends. But you interrogated me, tried me and sentenced me in your own language even though I couldn’t understand it and couldn’t defend myself. The torture that you subjected me to has become my nightmare.”

– Shirin Alam-Houli, executed 09/05/10, aged just 28

Letters of protest can be sent to,,, and

Further reading

To torture a prisoner is to torture humanity- letter from Farzad Kamangar 2007 here

The angels who laugh on Monday – letter from Farzad Kamangar March 2010 here

I am a hostage – letter from Shirin Alam-Houli, written one week ago here

Student activist Mohammad Pourabdollah sentenced to six years imprisonment


Only crime: fighting for freedom
Only crime: fighting for freedom

Mohammad Pourabdollah a member of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students in Iran was arrested during a brutal attack on his home in Tehran on February 12th 2009. Mohammad was a chemical engineering student at the University of Tehran. He has been kept in Evin prison in terrible conditions, suffering torture and abuse on a regular basis.

Today he was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment by the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary court. He has been in prison over 300 days already moving from the notorious Evin prison to the equally harsh Ghezel Hesar prison. His only crime was to take part in the student protests against the Iranian regime and the encroachment of the revolutionary guard onto campuses in Iran.

We call for his immediate and unconditional release along with all other political prisoners in Iran.


Sohrab Arabi: 19-year old Iranian Student Killed in Evin Prison


We are shocked to hear that an Iranian student, Sohrab Arabi, has been killed in Evin prison.

He is pictured here alongside his mother, who has been campaigning for his release.