Hirad Pirbodaghi Still In Detention After 25 Days

After 25 days, workers’ rights activist Hirad Pirbodaghi is still detained and awaiting legal proceedings in Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Pirbodaghi confirmed during a phone call with his family that interrogations have finished and he is waiting for bail to be assigned so that he may be released. The Evin Prison court has refused to set bail despite multiple requests from his family.

“In these increasingly cold days, he has been given just one set prison uniform which he has to wash and wear while it is still wet. Moreover, they don’t allow him to purchase anything from the prison store”, an informed source told HRANA.

On November 6, Pirbodaghi was arrested violently by security forces alongside Asal Mohammadi. Their houses were searched during the arrest. He was transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is at the disposal of the Ministry of Intelligence.

Pirbodaghi was indicted on the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” on November 7.

Mohammadi was released on bond from Evin Prison on November 22. The reason for his arrest is still unknown at the time of writing.

The day before their arrests, Pirbodaghi and Mohammadi, accompanied by seven other activists, had filed a complaint in a judicial office against the use of solitary confinement as a torture method. Mohammadi and Pirbodaghi have previously faced other arrests and convictions for their non-violent activism and worker’s rights advocacy.

Labor Activists’ Appeals Look Bleak

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Labor activist Ebrahim Madadi’s prison sentence of five years and three months has been upheld in Branch 36 of Tehran Revolutionary Appeals Court.

If the outcome of Madadi’s appeal has come clear, the case of his co-defendant Davoud Razavi is less so: the absence of a judge has delayed the appeals hearing that was scheduled to review his own five-year prison sentence on October 31st of this year.

Madadi and Razavi were arrested April 28, 2014, for labor activism, detained in Evin prison, and released 22 days later on 1 billion IRR [approximately $25,000 USD] bail. Their initial trial was held in Branch 26 of Revolutionary Court.

Madadi is the vice president of the Greater Tehran Bus Drivers’ Syndicate and a longtime labor activist. Saleh Nikbakht, the attorney for both men, told HRANA that authorities have historically founded their allegations against Madadi on his syndical activities– so many manifestations, she said, of their intolerance of syndicates like the Bus Drivers’ Union. Egregious in the eyes of the judiciary, the attorney said, was Madadi’s distribution of sweets at a bus terminal on International Workers’ Day (May 1st) 2014, and his 2015 lobbying at the Labor Ministry for a higher minimum wage. Madadi served a 3-year prison sentence, also connected to his labor activism, that ended April 18, 2012.

Likewise, Revolutionary Court cited Razavi’s participation in the minimum-wage demonstrations as evidence of “collusion and assembly to act against national security.” The publishing of photos from these demonstrations was tantamount to anti-regime propaganda, they said; rallying fellow citizens to attend an International Labour Organization conference was endorsing “the labor opposition movement outside of Iran” (the ILO is an official UN agency). The court offered no other evidence connecting Razavi to a criminal offense.

In a statement dated April 2017, Amnesty International called on Iranian authorities “to immediately and unconditionally release those imprisoned for their peaceful trade union work, and quash the harsh prison sentences […] and allow workers to hold peaceful gatherings, including on International Workers’ Day, and to exercise their right to form and join independent trade unions to improve their living situations.”

Madadi, a sexagenarian, suffers from diabetes, prostate inflammation, and high blood pressure and cholesterol. Secondary to a stroke, he has gone deaf in one ear and suffered partial hearing loss in the other.

Labor Activists Arrested in Western Iran

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) On Tuesday, September 4, 2018, two labor activists living in Sanandaj (capital of Kurdistan province in Iran) were detained by security forces and taken to an undisclosed location, a close source told HRANA. The source identified the activists as Khaled Hosseini and Mozafar Salehnia.

Hosseini and Salehnia were among five labor activists who were summoned to Branch One of Sanandaj Revolutionary Court on April 28, 2018, shortly before International Workers’ Day (May 1st).

They were previously interrogated on March 5, 2017, by Branch 4 of the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court for taking part in a Nowruz (Persian New Year) festival organized by a workers’ council in Pardis Hall of Sanandaj.