Tag Archives: repression

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.

 

Student Ali Ajami on hunger strike

Ali Ajami, a 23 year old student activist has been on hunger strike for 6 days now along with 5 other political prisoners in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj. He was arrested in February 2010 at his parents village near Sabzevar. During his arrest the regimes thugs violently attacked his family. After spending months in solitary confinement in Evin prison he was sentenced to four years in prison, later reduced to two years of prison in exile. He was moved to Raja’i Shar prison and hasn’t seen his family in 7 months.

The hunger strike started after Ali was attacked by the guards in the hospital of the prison and was very badly injured. The hunger strikes in Raja’i Shahr are also in solidarity with those on strike in Evin prison.

 

Executions and repression intensify in Iran

With the continued threat of war, the sanctions siege and the dual political and economic crisis within Iran the repression of opposition forces is continuing and intensifying.

On Tuesday May 17 two brothers, Mohammad (27) and Abdollah (29) Fathi, were executed by the Islamic Republic. After being torture they were sentenced for being involved with anti-revolutionary groups, armed robbery and Mohareb (waging war against god). Their father, Bijan Fathi, said that their confessions were “obtained under severe torture” and they were “deprived of all their basic lawful rights”.

Below is the video of their funeral:

Left-wing student and activist Mohammad Pourabdollah who has been in prison since February 12 2009 has been moved to the infamous Ghezal Hesar prison in Karaj a city to the west of Tehran. It is a prison known for its barbaric treatment of prisoners and the housing of violent thugs and rapists. He has been charged with propoghanda against the state and being a threat to national security. Pourabdollah was initially sentenced to six years but was reduced to three years on appeal. He has spent months in solitary confinement enduring methodical physical and mental torture.

He was moved along with ten other political prisoners to a prison where in March up to 150 prisoners were injured and a minimum of 14 killed when prison guards attacked prisoners. This is a common move by the theocratic regime that puts political prisoners and those on false charges in the wings and prisons of often violent prisoners.

On the same day of Pourabdollah’s arrest comrade Alireza Davoudi was taken from his home into secret detention. He would never be released alive. The Ayatollah’s thugs murdered comrade Davoudi on July 29 2009 by torturing him to death.

These moves come at a time when the regime is stepping up the murder and brutalisation of political prisoners. Habib Latifi, another left-wing student, is at risk of execution after his death sentence was upheld by Iran’s supreme court. The comrade was arrested in October 2007 during a massive crack down against left-wing students. He is accused of conspiracy against national security and insurgence. A massive campaign was launched to stop the execution which was originally scheduled for December 26 2010. This campaign has been reignited with hundreds of people in the Kurdish city of Sanandaj have signed a letter asking Ali Khamenei to pardon Latifi.

Hands Off the People of Iran is for the release of all political prisoners and an end to executions. Mass action in Iran backed up by grass roots international solidarity is desperately needed to push back the repression and end executions. There can be no liberation from the imperialist forces whose sanctions are causing unemployment and poverty on a massive scale. We are opposed to all sanctions and any military action directed against Iran.

Iran Workers Bulletin

Supporters of Hands of the People of Iran have produced a bulletin on working class struggle in Iran for trade unionists and anti-war activists. We will be giving out hundreds of copies at demonstrations, meetings and conferences over the coming months, starting with the PCS Conference beginning on May 18. If you would like copies for your trade union branch or would like to help distribute the bulletin please email office[at]hopoi.info

Click the links below to view the bulletin:

Bulletin Front

Bulletin Back

Iran continues clamp down on student activists

Iranian authorities are continuing to clamp down on student activists by restricting their activities and throwing more activists in jail.

As student organizations are faced with severe limitations on their activities, close to 70 student activists are currently in Islamic Republic prisons on various security and political charges.

Ashkan Zahabian, a student at Fardowsi University in Mashhad and a member of Takim-e Vahadat, Iran’s largest student organization, was arrested yesterday for the third time since the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which triggered widespread protests across Iran in 2009.

In Tehran, officials seeking to arrest activist and Amir Kabir university student Pedram Rafati have raided the home of his parents over the past two days.

Rafati was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards in June 2009 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Daneshjoo News also reports that new charges have been brought against Bahraeh Hedayat, Mehdieh Golrou and Majid Tavakoli, three prominent student activists who are already serving harsh sentences in Evin Prison.

They were reportedly taken to court from prison and sentenced to an extra six months in jail.

The new charges stemmed from the announcements they issued to student activists marking National Student Day in Iran.

… Payvand News – 05/04/11 … —

 

May Day statement in support of workers in Iran

Over the last year workers in Iran have struggled on several fronts. The subsidy cuts coupled with the crisis in world capitalism are driving living standards down for the majority of Iranians. Basic food stuffs are rising in price at a phenomenal rate, with bread rising a massive 25% and unsubsidised fuel increasing 7 fold. This is in a country with the third largest oil reserves in the world and the necessary refining abilities to produce cheap and affordable fuel for the entire population. The sanctions regime continues to undermine Iranian industry, robbing many workers of their jobs whilst the elite continue to amass great wealth. We stand with the Iranian working class fighting austerity and call for an end to all sanctions. We also call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

 

There have been important centres of working class resistance where the working class has shown its strength. At the Alborz tyre factory in Iran over 800 workers have held protests outside of the presidential office after 9 months of unpaid wages. There has been a recurring struggle over wages being withheld on a regular basis since privatisation of the factory in 1991.

 

The state-run Haft Tapeh sugar cane factory workers have faced consistent repression and attempts to crush their union. Ali Nejati, the President of the Union, is in prison and in ill health facing further charges of endangering national security. This continued repression, failure to pay wages and the refusal of the management to allow sacked workers to return have forced workers to down tools and strike several times over the last 12 months.

 

The strikes in the Petrochemical industry starting on March 19 at the Imam Port complex were contagious and spread across the industry. The initial demands focused on ending the current contract system that offers only precarious work and little security. Thousands of workers have been on strike demanding the introduction of the 2005 directives on hiring.

 

At the Pars Paper Company over a thousand of workers struck in defence of 60 laid off workers who had been at the company for over 10 years. In Qazvin workers at multiple textile plants have struck against unpaid wages, with some workers going unpaid for over a year. They were also joined by workers from the city’s Ziaran slaughterhouse who have unpaid wage claims going back two years.

 

At Iran Khodro the overworked yet militant workforce has continued to be a beacon of resistance. In January 4 workers were killed and 13 injured as a worker who was ill and tired after repeated back-to-back shifts collapsed at the wheel of the truck he was driving. Workers immediately demonstrated and called on the CEO to resign. Scuffles broke out between security and revolutionary guards.

 

The protest movement that erupted in 2009 was savagely put down by the security forces with violence not witnessed since 1999. Many leaders and activists remain in jail, many have fled and gone underground and hundreds have been murdered. Yet flickers of open defiance continue and below the surface the Iranian masses have rejected the theocratic regime. It is only a matter of time until mass action will threaten the existence of the Islamic Republic.

 

The uprisings in the region are a nightmare vision of the future for the regime as the revolts creep closer to the border. The imperialists have also suffered defeats, with Mubarak, a lynchpin of their domination, falling along with Tunisia’s Ben Ali. Yemen’s Saleh is soon to go. In this chaotic atmosphere the war threat has increased as we must not rule out further military action by the imperialists to demonstrate their power and reassert political domination. As part of threatening war with Iran, Saudi troops have gone in to suppress the people in Bahrain. This is what the intervention in Libya is about: not protecting civilians. The current interventions in the region must end and there must be no attack on Iran.

 

Hands Off the People of Iran reiterates our commitment to oppose the war threat and sanctions whilst supporting the struggle against the theocratic regime.



Hands Off the People of Iran Steering Committee

Iranian hunger strikers sew their lips together in protest at UK deportation

The Guardian – Four Iranians, including a 17-year-old boy, are on hunger strike and have sewn their lips together with fishing wire in protest at plans by the British government to send them back to Tehran.

The men, who are among six protesters to have not eaten for 16 days, say they were beaten, tortured and in one case raped after taking part in anti-regime protests that swept Iran in 2009. They claim that although their lives would be in danger in Iran they have been “ignored and dismissed” by UK authorities since they sought refuge in the country last year.

“We have sewn our mouths because there is no other way,” said Keyvan Bahari, 32, who has scars across his back and arms from what he said was 12 days of being slashed with razor blades by the Iranian authorities when he was a student. “Nobody in the UK hears us or cares what we say so we have no other option but to do this.”

Bahari, a former champion wrestler who ran his own training centre in Tehran, said the media and government in the UK and US had encouraged him and tens of thousands of other young people to stand up against the regime but had now “washed their hands” of the protesters.

“When I was back in Tehran, I was seeing Obama and British officials on our illegal satellite TVs, encouraging us day in day out to continue our protest,” said Bahari, who is one of three men camping on the pavement outside Lunar House immigration centre in Croydon. Speaking with difficulty through his sewn-up lips, which are already sore and infected, he said: “They said that they will support us but now that I’m stuck in here and need help, they are nowhere.”

The men say they are taking liquids, but doctors say that even so, they could deteriorate quickly, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions.

Mahyar Meyari, 17, lying in the small tent next to Bahari, recalls how he was raped after being arrested following a demonstration on al-Quds day in 2009. “I was blindfolded and taken to an unknown place where I was kept for a week. I was kicked on the head by batons many times … and even raped,” he said before breaking down.

Mahyar paid a smuggler to get him out of the country but says he did not know where he was being taken before he arrived in the UK 16 days later. “I can’t explain how I feel here, I can’t believe what’s happening to me,” said Mahyar, who does not speak English. “When I claimed asylum with the Home Office, they first didn’t believe that I’m 17 years old, they said I was lying. There’s a culture of disbelief in the Home Office, everybody thinks you are lying by default.”

The men’s asylum claims were all turned down, although some are still involved in appeals. They say they feel let down by the legal system and the lawyers appointed by the Home Office to represent them.

“I’m very discontent about my legal representation,” said Bahari. “I saw my lawyer more as a Home Office officer than a lawyer there to protect my rights. He was more looking after the rights of the Home Office.”

A government spokesman said the UK Border Agency “takes every asylum application it receives seriously” adding the men were given “every opportunity to make their representations to us as well as a right to appeal the decision to the courts”.

He added: “They all had access to free legal advice as well as a designated UK Border Agency caseowner who considered their case on its individual merits.”

However, the men say they have had very little contact with the Home Office since they began their protest and campaigners – and fellow Iranian activists – say asylum seekers are fighting a culture of disbelief across the government.

“The people who are supposed to interview asylum seekers in the Home Office, they do not interview these people, they interrogate them,” said Akbar Karimian, an Iranian activist who has been helping the group. “They search for an error or a mistake in their testimonies so that they can find a contradictory evidence to reject their claim. You imagine that the officers in a refugee organisation of this government are there to help these vulnerable people, but they are there to find a way to send them back.”

Campaigners say the UK hunger strike is a sign of the increasing desperation among Iranian asylum seekers. One man died after setting himself alight in Amsterdam this month and 25 Iranians sewed their lips together in Greece in an attempt to secure refugee status. The Medical Foundation, which is preparing a report on Meyari’s condition for his next appeal, says 293 Iranians were referred to the organisation for help in 2010.

Lying in the tent, Mahyar said the UK hunger strikers, like many fellow Iranians, were prepared for drastic action. “I prefer to die here than going back to Iran. I’ll continue this protest until somebody comes here and asks me why I’m doing this, until somebodycares about what has happened to me.”

 

Imprisoned student activist in coma

Arash Sadeghi

According to the Daneshjoo News website, since the onset of Arash Sadeghi’s hunger strike on March 15, 2010 until the present, his physical condition has severely deteriorated. The effects of torture by government agents has been so severe that the student activist fell into a coma today, forcing the Evin prison officials to transfer him to Modarres hospital.

A few days ago, due to the tortures inflicted on Arash Sadeghi in ward 209 of Evin prison, his shoulder blade and ribs were broken. The prison guards refused to send Arash Sadeghi to the prison clinic. Instead, he was transferred to solitary confinement.

According to the Arash Sadeghi Facebook page, prison officials informed the Sadeghi family that their son passed out as a result of severe weakness.

In a phone conversation with Arash Sadeghi’s family members, security officials instructed them to not visit him in the hospital since it is not permitted. Nevertheless, Arash Sadeghi’s family still intended to go.

Translation by Persian2English

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana

Please sign the petition here

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana

We have learned the astonishing news of “Dr. Raisdana’s arrest” by the security agents of the Islamic republic on the early morning of December 19th, 2010 at his home in Tehran. Dr. Fariborz Raisdana is a well known intellectual, economist, social activist, and …the active member of the Iranian writers’ association. He published several books and articles on political economy and sociology. He has been known as a leftist socio-economic expert who always considers working class in his economic impairment analysis. So that he can be firmly called as “Iranian working class economist”. Dr. Raisdana’s field of expertise is econometrics. He has tried hard to disclose how workers and wage earners have been implicated by the relations of political economy in the turbulent Iranian society and how they have been increasingly suffering.

Arrest of Dr. Raisdana , the member of the Iranian writers’ association which is a long-lasting core on the struggle against censorship in Iran , is a warning to the grass root movements who are seeking public justice and to the people whose main civil and democratic demand is focused on human rights and freedom of speech in spite of the extensive violation of civil rights in Iran. Moreover, his arrest, as a leftist economist who criticizes the Iranian government socio-economic platforms, points out the fact that social and political oppression apparatus in Iran is trying to implement its unfair plan to reduce the allocation of national subsidies. This is the unreasonable plan which has been evaluated by the majority of the experts as a plan to consolidate the military authority in the public sphere of Iran. It is out of question that the military economic plan results in reducing welfare and increasing pressure on the lower classes which Dr. Raisdana is their voice in the society to stand against the illegitimate resilient structure.

We, undersigned, condemn Dr. Raisdana’s arrest and with pledge to civil rights and freedom of speech we demand his immediate and unconditional release.

ما خواهان آزادی فوری فریبرز رییس دانا هستیم

در نخستین ساعات بامداد 28 آذرماه 1389 ( 19 دسامبر 2010 ) فریبرز رییس دانا، روشنفکر ، اقتصاد دان و کوشنده ی اجتماعی و عضو هیات دبیران کانون نویسندگان ایران، توسط ماموران امنیتی در منزلش واقع در تهران، دستگیر شد . فریبرز رییس دانا مولف و مترجم کتاب ها و مقالات متعددی پیرامون نظرگاه های اقتصادی و اجتماعی و سیاسی است. او به عنوان اقتصاد دانی پیش کسوت و صاحب نظر اجتماعی، در تحلیل آسیب های اقتصادی کشورمان، همواره به طبقات فرودست و کم بضاعت ایران نظر داشت، به طوری که می توان به جرات او را « اقتصاد دان طبقه ی کارگر و زحمتکش ایران » نامید. رشته ی تخصصی رئیس دانا « اقتصاد سنجی » است و او به کمک معادلات و محاسبات کاربردی ریاضیات، می کوشید روابط و مناسبات اقتصاد سیاسی را در جامعه ی پر تلاطم ایران نمایان سازد و به ویژه نشان دهد که چگونه کارگران و مزد بگیران جامعه در محاق قرار گرفته اند و محنت روزافزون می کشند.

دستگیری عضو هیات دبیران کانون نویسندگان ایران ، به عنوان کانونی دیرپای در مبارزه با سانسور ، هشداری است به مردم عدالتخواه که نقض گسترده ی حقوق بشر و تهدیدهای بی شمار به آزادی بیان را در مقطع اخیر در صدر مطالبات مدنی و دموکراتیک خود قرار داده اند.

همچنین دستگیری رییس دانا، به عنوان اقتصاد دان چپ و منتقد برنامه های دولت فعلی ایران، مبین جریان ویژه ی سرکوب اجتماعی، در آستانه ی طرحی است که کاهش تخصیص یارانه های ملی را مدنظر دارد . بدیهی است که این طرح غیر علمی و نابخردانه که از سوی بسیاری از صاحب نظران در راستای تحکیم اقتدار نظامی و سیاسی حاکم بر ایران ارزیابی شده است، منجر به کاهش رفاه همگانی و افزایش فشار بر طبقات زیرین جامعه خواهد شد، همان ها که رییس دانا صدای ناله و فریاد فروخفته ی آنان بود. باری، چنین شده است که بی محابا بر منتقدین می تازند و ناروا، روا می دارند تا بیش از پیش بر ساختار ارتجاعی خود یکه تاز شوند.

ما ، امضاء کنندگان زیر ، ضمن محکوم کردن بازدداشت فریبرز رییس دانا ، با التزام به حقوق مدنی و آزادی بیان ، خواهان آزادی فوری و بی قید و شرط این فرهیخته ی آزادی خواه ایرانی هستیم

2 Days to Save Shahla Jahed

End all executions
End all executions

Shahla Jahed is due to be executed in Iran on December 1st, while the eyes of the world are on her fellow Iranian, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Jahed had a temporary marriage with Nasser Mohammad-Khani, an Iranian footballer, and has been charged with murdering his full-time wife. She has withdrawn a confession made under torture, stating in court “everyone knows the conditions under which I confessed.” She has now been imprisoned for nine years.

Send protest emails to:

Head of the Judiciary in Tehran

Mr Ali Reza Avaei

avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir

Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran

Mohammad Javad Larijani

info@humanrights-iran.ir

Please copy all emails to the Iranian Embassy in London: consulate@iran-embassy.org.uk