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Press Release: Reza Shahabi’s Condition Alarming

Posted on: 1st December, 2011
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HRANA News Agency – The administrative office of Human Rights Activists in Iran has issued a press release to express concerns over Reza Shahabi’s condition in prison after this political prisoner began his hunger strike, and the news of his deteriorating health was reported.

Human Rights Activists in Iran has requested that the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations to pay immediate attention to this prisoner of conscience. Demanding immediate and unconditional release of the labor activist Reza Shahabi, this organization has also reminded the government of Iran that the freedom to form and participate in labor unions is an integral part of international obligations towards human rights.

Pointing out that the Islamic Republic of Iran has historically neglected the health and general well-being of political prisoners, Human Rights Activists in Iran has announced that this organization holds the government of Iran including the State Prisons System, the Judiciary Branch and the Intelligence Agency responsible for the health and life of Reza Shahabi.

This press release as published on the organization’s official web site contains the following:

Reza Shahabi is a labor activist and the board member of SWTSBC, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He was also previously in charge of the labor committee of Human Rights Activists in Iran. On Saturday, June 12, 2010, four security agents arrested Reza Shahabi at work around 10:00am. Since then, he has been in temporary custody in a legal state of limbo. On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, Reza Shahabi began his open ended hunger strike to protest against the present conditions under which he has been incarcerated.

The current hunger strike is just another form of objection in a series of attempts made by Reza Shahabi to protest against being imprisoned illegally. On May 25, 2011, Reza Shahabi appeared in the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court in order to face charges filed against him. Although the presiding judge announced that a ruling would be issued within four days after the trial, Reza Shahabi still remains in a legal state of limbo indefinitely.

While locked up in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, Reza Shahabi has been in hunger strike several times in the past. He suffers from osteoarthritis, low blood pressure, and heart and liver problems. During his incarceration, the degenerative arthritis has resulted in the loss of control over the left side of his body such that physicians have strongly recommended immediate surgery for him.

Given Reza Shahabi’s serious medical problems threatening his life and the fact that there has been no news of him since he began his latest hunger strike, Human Rights Activists of Iran has become increasingly concerned about this political prisoner’s current condition.

Human Rights Activists of Iran announces that this labor activist has been in a legal state of limbo for nearly 18 months. According to Article 9, part 3 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, anyone arrested or detained on criminal charges shall be brought promptly before a judge and shall be entitled to a trial within a reasonable amount of time or must be released. Additionally, Article 32 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution strongly reiterates that the charges against an individual who has been detained must be formally given to him in writing, and within 24 hours, the initial case must be referred to the judicial officials in order to begin criminal proceeding as soon as possible.

Moreover, Reza Shahabi’s life has been endangered due to the lack of proper medical care during his incarceration. Such treatment is in violation of Article 22, Part II of Geneva Convention defining the rights of prisoners and Article 103 of the State Prisons System’s regulations requiring the availability of all necessary medical care to inmates who might have to be taken outside the prison to seek treatment.

Human Rights Activists in Iran hereby requests from the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations to pay immediate attention to this prisoner of conscience and his current condition. Human Rights Activists in Iran also demands immediate and unconditional release of the labor activist Reza Shahabi and reminds the government of Iran that the freedom to form and participate in labor unions is an integral part of international obligations towards human rights.

Since the Islamic Republic of Iran has historically neglected the health and general well-being of political prisoners, Human Rights Activists in Iran hereby holds the government of Iran including the State Prisons System, the Judiciary Branch and the Intelligence Agency responsible for the health and life of Reza Shahabi.

The Administrative Office of Human Rights Activists in Iran
November 29, 2011

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