ITF Condemns Imprisonment Sentence of Reza Shahabi

HRANA News Agency – The International Transport Workers’ Federation condemned the imprisonment sentence of Reza Shahabi and by describing it as inhuman and illegal, asked for his unconditional release.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Mac Urata the secretary of domestic transport of ITF said, “It is difficult for most of us to imagine enduring the relentless persecution experienced by Reza Shahabi – inhumane and illegal punishment simply for carrying out lawful trade union activities as guaranteed by universally declared international labour standards”.

Mr. Urata said, “As a global union federation we will do all we can to support the Syndicate of Bus Drivers in Tehran in their fight against this oppression”.

Reza Shahabi was summoned to Evin court while he was in medical furlough, and interrogated about the protests of prisoners of ward 350 on April 17, 2014, and a case was opened for him and sent to branch number 26 of the revolutionary court.

He was tried in early May, and sentenced to one year in prison. Branch number 26 of the court of appeal confirmed the sentence on December 11, 2015, and it was ordered to be executed.

Reza Shahabi is a member of the Syndicate of Bus Drivers in Tehran. He started his activities in 2004 by becoming a member of the board of founders of the Syndicate and was elected as the representative of labours in board of directors in June 2, 2004. He started to follow up worker’s demands along with other members, and for this reason was threatened and arrested by the security forces. In a strike of municipal drivers of region 10, he was arrested and after being released, fired from his work. He continued his activities during unemployment for 4 years, while he was trying to get back to his work.

He was working by notarized power of attorney, and defending the drivers who were fired for illegitimate excuses. The administrative justice court ordered on his and other fired members of the syndicate that they could go back to work in July 2009. The former president of the company along with the security forces and the head of municipality region number 10, changed his rout and region of service constantly, and tried to fire him by profiling and fabricating accusations against him, including allegation of not returning the bus to the station after work.

He was arrested by the security forces on June 12, 2010, in but and in front of 30 passengers by beatening. After house investigation he sent to ward 209 of Evin prison. He spent 19 months in the solitary confinement under an extraordinary pressure. Although branch number 2 defined a 60 million-Tomans-bail, but because of intervention of the security forces he was not released.

Mr. Shahabi faced sever cervical spine and lower back and left side problems and finally in protest to medical negligence started hunger strike. He was transferred to the hospital after 22 days of hunger strike and had a surgery operation on July 24, 2012. He was sent back to ward 350 of Evin after the operation that caused an infection of the surgery area.

Reza Shahbi was sentenced to 6 years in prison, 5 years deprivation from any syndicate related activities and 7 million Tomans fine, on charges of collusion against the national security and propaganda against the regime, by branch number 15 of the revolutionary court. This sentence was confirmed by branch number 36 of the appeal court, on June 3, 2012.

Reza Shahabi had 7, 20 and 30-day-long hunger strikes in protest to the bad condition of prison and medical negligence. Last time, he had a 52-day-long hunger strike in protest to his illegal transfer to Rajaei Shahr prison, which ended up with blood pressure drop and put him in a critical health condition and he was then transferred to the hospital. After stabilization of his general condition, he went under back surgery, on September 2, 2014.

After having two important and critical surgeries on back and neck, he was sent to medical furlough, but he was summoned to the intelligence service office, and was interrogated for protest in occupation bureau and municipality and receiving membership fee from syndicate members, publishing Paik-e-Syndicate pamphlet, provoking workers to riot and disrupting public order allegations, on February 7. This is a new case that has been opened for him.

Reza Shahabi is currently in medical furlough by the order of forensic, and due to pressures and threats is living apart from his wife and children forcefully.

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