An Academic Year of Teacher Crackdowns

Posted on: September 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Iranian authorities have tightened their grip on union activities in recent years, and teacher union activists are far from the exception. Indeed, if representatives of various industries have been met with blowback for organizing in defense of their colleagues’ collective rights, a retrospective of crackdowns in the education field gives reason to believe that authorities reserve particular vitriol for the nation’s educators.

So far this year, Iranian teachers and educator-activists have been arrested by security agents, brought to court under various allegations, issued lengthy prison sentences, flogged, and exiled. On this turning of Iran’s new academic year, HRANA looks back at the cases of several teachers who were persecuted by authorities this year.

Mohammad Habibi: Union Activist, Member of the Teachers’ Union Association Board of Directors in Tehran Province

On May 10, 2018, the Council for Coordination of Teaching Syndicates urged teachers, be they retired or employed, to assemble in protest across the country. In Tehran, several of those who responded to the call were beaten and arrested and five days later Habibi was transferred to Great Tehran Penitentiary; all but Habibi were released on bail.

Now, Habibi’s case—which recently inspired more than 1400 civil and union activists to write to Iran’s Supreme leader demanding that he receive medical treatment—will be reviewed in Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court, presided by Judge Seyed Ahmad Zargar. Habibi’s attorney Hossein Taj told a correspondent from the state-run news agency IRNA on Monday, September 17th that a date for the hearing has yet to be set.

Cumulatively, his charges would carry a sentence of ten years: seven and a half years for “National-Security Related Crimes”, 18 months for “Propaganda against the Regime”, and another 18 months for “Disrupting Public Order.” In addition to prison terms, he was dealt a two-year ban from political and civic activities, a two-year travel ban, and 74 lashings.

Habibi suffers from chest pain and throat and lung infections secondary to assault wounds inflicted by authorities during his arrest, yet continues to be denied medical treatment. On the one occasion his medical leave was granted, according to HRANA reports, the receiving hospital dismissed him without treatment, sending him back to Evin Prison’s Ward 4 on Monday, September 3, 2018, where he has remained since.

Habibi’s case–particularly his compromised medical condition–recently drew the support of teacher organizations abroad. In a letter addressed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the French trade unions SFDT, SGT, FSO, Solidaires, and UNSA held the Supreme Leader accountable for Habibi’s fate, and called his imprisonment a violation of both human rights and the fundamental freedoms of syndicates. In May 2018, General Secretary of Education International (EI) David Edwards vehemently denounced Habibi’s arrest and detention, demanding his immediate release in a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

The Teachers’ Union Association of the Province of Tehran has publicly condemned the recent persecution of union advocates, also demanding that the necessary steps be taken for Habibi’s immediate release.

Habibi was arrested at his workplace on March 3, 2018 and jailed for 44 days in Evin Prison. On April 15, 2018, he was released on a bail of approximately $20000 USD (2.5 Billion Rials) pending his trial the following August.

A letter from Habibi’s HR office confirmed he is no longer receiving his salary.

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi: Former Spokesman of the Teachers’ Union Association

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, former spokesman of the Teachers’ Union Association, has been persistently following up on his requests for conditional release, having already served half of the five-year sentence he began September 6, 2015 in Evin. Authorities have thus far been unresponsive.

According to his wife Adineh Beigi, Langroodi started his teaching career in 1983 and remained an hourly employee for the first seven years, suspended in the recruitment process due to his allegedly oppositional intellectual leanings. In the genesis of the Teachers’ Union Association in the early 2000s, he was one of the first to join its board of directors, and was elected general secretary for two terms. He has also served on the board as an inspector and spokesman.

Langroodi had been sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison for three separate cases tried in revolutionary courts, all presided by judges known as “Salavati and Moghiseh.” In April 8, 2017, with the application of article 134, which limits defendants of multiple charges to the single heaviest among their sentences, his 14-year prison sentence was reduced to five years. Now, having served two third of his prison term, his family awaits his release.

On July 2, 2018, Langroodi went on hunger strike to protest the continued mistreatment of political prisoners, and wrote an open letter imputing the eventual consequences of his hunger strike on those who had put him behind bars, particularly the judges and prosecutor’s office.

On July 16th of this year, the Teachers’ Union Association of Tehran Province issued a statement condemning the judiciary’s disregard of the law, and criticizing the assistant prosecutor in charge of Evin Prison for negligence. The letter validated the demands of Beheshti and his fellow imprisoned teachers, urging them to cease their hunger strike.

Moved by his comrades’ letter and concerned about his declining health, Beheshti ended his hunger strike after 14 days.

Langaroudi has been summoned, interrogated, arrested, and detained several times during the past few years for his peaceful trade union activities.

Esmaeil Abdi: General Secretary of the Teachers’ Union Association

Esmail Abdi, former secretary general of the Teachers’ Union Association, is serving a 6-year sentence in Evin Prison.

A former teacher of mathematics, Abdi was arrested by security forces June 27, 2015 and sentenced February 2016 by Judge Salavati in Branch 15 of Revolutionary Court on charges of “Propaganda against the Regime” and “Assembling and Colluding against National Security.”

On May 14, 2016, after serving 11 months, he was released on bail until his trial the following October, when Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court upheld his six-year prison sentence. He has been in Ward 8 of Evin prison since being arrested in his home by security forces on November 9, 2016.

Under Article 134, Abdi’s sentence should be limited to the heaviest one of his multiple sentences, and thus should not exceed five years. It remains to be seen if the judiciary will uphold Article 134 in his case.

Over the course of Abdi’s imprisonment, several groups have spoken out against his treatment by the judicial system and pleaded for his release, including the Syndicate of United Bus Company Workers of Greater Tehran (known as ‘Sandicaye Sherkat Vahed’), the International Education Organization, the Iran Teachers’ Organization, a number of individual labor and union activists, the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations, the Kurdish Teachers’ Association, and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

In April 24, 2018, Esmail Abdi staged a 23-day hunger strike to protest the “widespread violation of teachers’ and workers’ rights in Iran.” Amnesty International was prompted by the urgency of his hunger strike to issue their own demand for Abdi’s release on April 28, 2018.

Abdi had previously gone on hunger strike one year earlier in protest of his trial proceedings, the judiciary’s lack of autonomy, and the continued unlawful repression of teachers and labors union activists. More than a month into the strike he was transferred to a hospital and began eating again on June 7th at the requests of his family and the Teacher’s Union Association.

Abdi was the 2018 recipient of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) Solidarity Award at its annual conference in Birmingham, England.

Mohammad Sani, a Teacher of Exceptional Schools in Southern Iran

Mohammad Sani, a teacher from Bushehr, southern Iran, was sentenced to two years in prison and 74 lashings for his union activities, which landed him a conviction of “spreading misinformation and disturbing public opinion” this past August. He is currently waiting for the Enforcement Department to deliver his summons and begin his prison time.

An informed source previously told HRANA that Sani’s charge is related to the widespread teacher protests in 2015, which prompted the County Governorate of Dashtestan, Bushehr province to open a case against the protestors. “When Mr. Sani responded to the county governor’s insults to the teachers at the sit in, they opened a case on him,” the source said.

In October 2015, Iranian teachers staged peaceful protests across the country, demanding the release of their imprisoned colleagues, the fulfillment of union requests, and public consideration for the threatened livelihoods of educators.

Ruhollah Mardani: Teacher and Tehran University Student

In Ward 4 of Evin Prison, Ruhollah Mardani is currently serving a sentence of six years, plus a two-year ban on typical citizen rights including travel.

Mardani was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison on February 17, 2018 for his participation in the widespread January protests one month earlier. His initial court hearing, which convened in June of this year, convicted him on charges of “Propaganda against the regime” and “Gathering and collusion aimed at disrupting national security.”

Mardani started a hunger strike April 24th 2017 to protest his detainment and stalled court proceedings while in prison. When authorities promised to accelerate their investigation of his case on May 21st, he began eating again after twenty seven consecutive days of strike.

An informed source previously told HRANA that the Education Security Office cut off his salary in the first month of his arrest, arguing that he could not be paid during his detention. “His job security is under threat right now,” the source said.

Mardani was working as a consultant teacher in region 4 of Karaj while studying at Tehran University.

Bakhtiar Arefi: Teacher in Sardasht, northwestern Iran

Bakhtiar Arefi began serving his 18-month prison sentence on Tuesday July 24, 2018 in Mahabad Prison. He was arrested January 25, 2015 for non-union reasons including “Membership in a Reformist Organization” and released on bail after one month.

Shortly thereafter in Revolutionary Court on February 25, 2017, Arefi was sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence was upheld in Branch 40 of Supreme Court, only to be later reduced to eighteen months in Branch 13 of Urmia Appeals Court on October 30, 2017, via application of Article 18 of Islamic Penal Code. If he serves his sentence as indicated, he will be released December 23, 2019.

Iranian teachers who have faced judicial persecution along with their unionist colleagues include Mokhtar Asadi, Taher Ghaderzadeh, Rasool Bodaghi, Aliakbar Baghani, Nabiollah Bastan Farsani, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mahmud Bagheri, Mohammad Davari, Alireza Hashemi, Jafar Ebrahimi, Hashem Khastar, Mohsen Omrani.

Mokhtar Asadi’s Parole Was Rejected by the Court

Posted on: March 31st, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Mokhtar Asadi’s request for parole was refused. He is a member of the Kurdish Teachers’ Association, who is serving a one-year imprisonment in Evin prison on charges of propaganda against the regime.

According to the report of Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran (HRANA), the parole of Mokhtar Asadi, Trade Union activist who is serving his one year in Evin Prison, has been rejected. (more…)

Mokhtar Asadi Arrested in Tehran

Posted on: November 29th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Mokhtar Asadi, member of the Teachers’ Trade Union of Kurdistan who had referred to the Revolutionary Court of Tehran for pursuing his bail was arrested on September 18, 2017.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mokhtar Asadi, activist and a member of the Teachers’ Trade Union of Kurdistan who had went to the Revolutionary Court of Tehran for pursuing his bail related to his former case was arrested and transferred to the prison. (more…)

Supreme administrational court abolished Mokhtar Asadi’s exile verdict

Posted on: May 14th, 2013

HRANA News Agency – Supreme administrational court abolished the exile verdict of Mokhtar Asadi which was issued by education administration of Kurdistan province.

 

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), in December education administration of Kurdistan province issued the exile verdict of Mokhtar Asadi the activist in teacher’s union for the fifthe year, but he appealed the verdict and the supreme administrational court abolished it. (more…)

HRW Calls For Release Of Jailed Iranian Teachers

Posted on: October 6th, 2012

HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Iranian authorities to immediately free seven jailed teachers and to end the harassment of dozens of others.

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities should immediately free seven teachers who are behind bars solely for speaking out against the government. Iran should also end harassment of dozens of others teachers who are facing charges or who have already served time in prison on national-security-related charges. Human Rights Watch issued the call on World Teachers Day as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and other international rights groups to highlight the plight of teachers who criticize the government.

(more…)

Mokhtar Asadi Suspended from Teaching in Kurdistan

Posted on: October 9th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – Although the new school year began more than two weeks ago in Iran, Mokhtar Asadi is still forbidden to teach in any schools throughout Kurdistan.Mokhtar Asadi is a member of Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan and a human rights activist.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the Department of Education in Kurdistan Province has prevented any schools from accepting Mokhtar Asadi’s teaching credentials.As a result, he remains in a state of limbo and suspended indefinitely.

The Ministry of Education and the Department of Education in Alburz Province have issued several letters to ask the officials in Kurdistan to allow Mokhtar Asadi to teach in Sanandaj.Teachers throughout the city of Sanandaj have signed a petition demanding to restore Mokhtar Asadi to his teaching post in Sanandaj.The petition has been submitted to the director of Kurdistan’s Department of Education, Khosro Saki, while more signatures are being collected.

Mokhtar Asadi holds a Masters degree in Sociology from Tehran University and is a social and human rights activist.In the last few years, he was dismissed from his teaching position for several months and was exiled for years.In 2010, he was arrested and locked up in solitary confinement for months in Rajai-Shahr Prison and then Ward 209 of Evin but was eventually released on bail.

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Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan Threatened; Twelve Teachers Summoned

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011

 HRANA News Agency – Agents working for Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence are placing undue pressure on teachers summoned by the agency to repudiate the statement released by Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan for May 9th.  In this statement, the union has named the day Farzad Kamangar was executed a day to reject violence and defend the right to live.

 

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), in recent days, Bahaldyn Maleki, Ramin Zandnia, Ali Qarishi, Mokhtar Asadi, Peyman Navidian, Heydar Zaman, Reza Khatami, Kamal Fakorian, Mostafa Sarbazan, Mohammad Sadiq Sadeqi, Hiva Ahmadi and Ezatollah Nosrati were summoned to the Intelligence Agency in Kurdistan Province.  The aforementioned individuals were questioned and threatened by the interrogators who had traveled from Tehran to Sanandaj [Kurdistan Province, Iran], and demands were made to rescind the union’s statement.

 

However, union members have so far insisted on their call to observe May 9th, the anniversary of Farzad Kamangar and four other individuals’ execution.  According to this report, intelligence forces have focused on pressuring Peyman Navidian and Mokhtar Asadi the most because they are union activists with prior convictions.  Peyman Navidian was exiled for nearly three years to Zanjan Province and was not allowed to work for several months.  Similarly, Mokhtar Asadi was in exile for 2 years and banned from work for 6 month.

 

In their statement, Teachers’ Union of Kurdistan has asked teachers all over Iran to light a candle on May 9th and reject organized violence.  By defending the right to live and teaching lessons of peace and human benevolence to their students, educators throughout Iran have been asked to commemorate Farzad Kamangar and his legacy as a fallen teacher

 

The List of Known Detainees in 1389

Posted on: April 8th, 2011

HRANA News Agency – During the past year, security forces have detained 5,485 civilians amongst whom the identity of 856 individuals have been revealed while 4,629 prisoners remain unknown.

The following report contains the names and personal information pertaining to 856 civilians detained in 1389.  The identities of these prisoners have been reported by human rights activists and groups, and a list of detainees has been compiled by the Statistics and Publication Unit of the organization known as Human Rights Activists in Iran.

Amongst the detainees, there were 48 members of trade unions, 449 individuals belonging to ethnic minorities, 322 members of religious minorities, 241 college students, 7 women and 51 laborers.  The list of detainees also includes 4,322 individuals arrested for expressing their beliefs and 45 people imprisoned for their civic and cultural activities.

This list is part of an annual report released by Human Rights Activists in Iran and includes an alphabetical listing of detainees’ names together with the date and place of each arrest made in violation of human rights mainly by the security forces in Iran.

 The Alphabetical Listing of Known Detainees in 1389

 

1. Fariba Ebtehaj arrested on February 10, 2011 in Tehran.

2. Kambiz Ebrahim-zadeh arrested on July 14, 2010 in Mahabad.

3. Mohammad Ebrahimi arrested on October 11, 2010 in Pavah.

4. Hajir Ebrahimi arrested on August 7, 2010 in Marivan.

5. Reza Abri arrested on December 29, 2010 in Tabriz.

6. Saeed Abrishami arrested on February 21, 2011 in Tehran.

7. Yahya Abu-Bakri arrested on March 15, 2011 in Mahabad.

8. Javad Abuali arrestd on December 7, 2010 in Behbahan.

9. Remina Ahrari arrested on March 4, 2011 in Esfahan.

10. Mohammad Ehsan Moazi arrested on February 20, 2011 in Tehran.

11. Tarane Ehsani arrested on March 12, 2011 in Semnan.

12. Osman Ahsani arrested in January or February 2011 in Bukan.

13. Hussein Ahmad-Nejad arrested on February 14, 2011 in Tehran.

14. Ismail Ahmad-Zadeh arrested in June or July 2010 in Mahabad.

15. Nooshin Ahmadi arrested on September 22, 2010 in Tehran.

16. Naeem Ahmadi arrested on June 14, 2010 in Tabriz.

17. Qurban Ahmadi arrested on an unknown date in an unknown location.

18. Sadiq Ahmadi arrested in January or February 2011 in Bukan.

19. Ahmad Ahmadi arrested on March 1, 2011 in Shiraz.

20. Luqman Ahmadian arrested in July or August 2010 in Saqqez.

21. Adham Akhtari arrested on March 5, 2011 in Mashhad.

22. Ali Reza Akhvan arrested on June 4, 2010 in an unknown location.

23. Akbar Arsalani arrested on January 3, 2011 in Urmia.

24. Ali Reza Ershad arrested on March 1, 2011 in Shiraz.

25. Afshin Osanloo arrested on November 22, 2010 in Tehran.

26. Saman Ostevar arrested on March 2, 2011 in Kerman.

27. Reza Astifan arrested on June 28, 2010 in Mashhad.

28. Zyayyh Eshaghi (Shohay) arrested on February 2, 2011 in Mashhad.

29. Nemat Asadi arrested on June 22, 2010 in Sanandaj.

30. Mokhtar Asadi arrested on June 28, 2010 in Karaj.

31. Ibrahim Askafy arrested on January 24, 2011 in an unknown location.

32. Delier Eskandari arrested on December 28, 2011 in Sanandaj.

33. Baagher Askviy arrested on February 14, 2011 in Tehran.

34. Majid Eslami arrested on April 29, 2010 in an unknown location.

35. Farzad Eslami arrested on December 5, 2010 in Tehran.

36. Yadollah Eslami arrested on February 11, 2011 in Tehran.

37. Hafiz Ismail arrested on November 1, 2010 in Zahedan.

38. Omar Ismail Pur arrested on November 11, 2010 in Naghdeh.

39. Ebrahim Ismail Pur arrested on November 11, 2010 in an unknown location.

40. Ebrahim Esmaeili arrested on October 29, 2010 in Naghdeh.

41. Rahbar Esmaeili arrested on April 2, 2010 in Orumieh.

42. Neda Esmaeili arrested on an unknown date in Shiraz.

43. Ali Esmaeili-Nejad arrested on December 21, 2010 in Bookan.

44. Ebrahim Esmeili arrested on January 18, 2011 in Tabriz.

45. Mohammad Aslani arrested between June and July 2010 in Tabriz.

46. Mohammad Atmani arrested between February and March 2011 in Salmas.

47. Zahra Eftekhari arrested on February 11, 2011 in Tehran.

48. Mohammad Afkhami arrested on February 16, 2011 in Tehran.

49. Mokhtar Afra arrested on August 31, 2010 in Marivan.

50. Misagh Afshar arrested on February 15, 2011 in Tehran.

854. Firooz Yosefi arrested on June 21, 2010 in Tehran.

855. Milad Yosefi arrested on July 15, 2010 in Paveh.

856. Hassan Younsei arrested on February 20, 2011 in Tehran.

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