Hirad Pirbodaghi’s Mother, Setareh Jalali, on Sit-Down Strike

Setareh Jalai, the mother of Hirad Pirbodaghi, went on a sit-in in front of Evin Courthouse in cold weather on December 5. The strike was in protest of her son’s continued detention and the lack of information regarding his condition. She was informed yesterday by prison and court officials that Pirbodaghi’s case will be taken to court for examination within the next 48 hours. This news is at odds with prior information the court has granted his release on bail. 

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the workers’ rights activist is still detained and awaiting legal proceedings in Ward 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran after 30 days.

In phone calls, Pirbodaghi stated that he had been under extreme coercion by security forces to confess.

“Last Saturday, they called her mother to provide the bail of 800 million tomans (189,680 USD). As her mother told me, the letter was issued on November 24, indicating that the security forces had obstructed the execution of this order,” an informed source told HRANA. “When the family went to Evin Courthouse, they were told that for now, the release is not going to happen. On the second day of her sit-down strike, however, Hirad’s mother was told to meet with prison officials”.

In this meeting, she was told that the case will be sent to a branch of the court for examination within the next 48 hours.

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.

Sattar Rezai Arrested by Security Forces in Isfahan

Late on December 1, worker’s rights activist Sattar Rezai was arrested by security forces and transferred to an unidentified location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the Independent Iranian Workers Union (IIWU), security forces arrested Rezai at his father’s house in Isfahan.  About 10 to 12 undercover agents were involved in the nighttime raid.

The reason for his arrest and his current whereabouts are unknown at the time of writing.

At Least 100 Workers Laid Off in the Aq-Dareh Gold Mine Complex

Earlier this Monday, November 22, at least 100 workers were laid off in the mining sector of the Aq-Dareh Gold mine complex in Takab County in West Azerbaijan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ILNA, many of these laid-off workers have over 15 years of experience. The employer has reportedly stated that the mass layoffs were necessary due to the reduced available work during winter months, but several workers claim that the weather is not yet cold enough to hinder their work.

Apart from these laid-off workers, 150 to 170  seasonal workers who have a temporary contract by late December have not received confirmation that they will get back to work in spring of next year.

Each year, as the workers in this report said, about 60% of workers get laid off and the remaining 200-220 are those who work in guarding, maintenance, equipping of machines and office work. Approaching winter each year, they face uncertainty over whether they will be among the laid off.

Workers’ Rights Activists Hirad Pirbodaghi and Asal Mohammadi Arrested by Security Forces

Two workers’ rights activists were arrested by security forces on Saturday, November 6.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Saturday, Hirad Pirbodaghi and Asal Mohammadi were arrested yesterday after security forces searched their homes. Hirad Pirbodaghi made a phone call to his family earlier this morning and informed them that he is currently being held in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison. Mohammadi’s situation and whereabouts are still unknown as of this writing.

An informed source told HRANA that security forced raided and searched their houses violently. Sunday morning, Hirad Pirbodaghi was notified about the charges against him, which include “assembly” and “collusion”.

Asal Mohammadi and Hirad Pirbodaghi have previously faced other arrests and convictions for their non-violent activism and worker’s rights advocacy.

Yesterday, before their arrest, Pirbodaghi and Mohammadi, along with seven other civil activists, filed a complaint in a judicial office against using solitary confinement as a tool of torture.

As of yet, the reason for these arrests is unknown.


60% of Workers in Iran are Uninsured, a New Statistical Report Says

A statistical report published by the Research Center of the Islamic Consultative Assembly shows that 60% of the country’s workers are uninsured.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Keyhan, this means that the employed person is not only deprived of insurance benefits but the years he or she worked will not be counted as part of his or her working records.

As a result, the worker will be deprived of both unemployment insurance and retirement benefits when they need them.

Mentioning that the insurance status of workers is not acceptable at all, Fathollah Bayat, chairman of the Union of Contract Workers, said, “The government can identify uninsured workers in various ways, including self-declaration.”

“The government must provide a registration system for uninsured workers to identify these people and must think of a plan to insure them,” Bayat added. “If a worker is not insured, s/he has no future, and in case of work accidents, disability, or retirement s/he will have no income.”

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17 Days After Arrest, Detained Labor Activist’s Whereabouts Unknown

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – As far as his family knows, labor activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh could be seriously suffering, or worse: seventeen days after his arrest near Kermanshah in western Iran, authorities have yet to release word of his wellbeing or whereabouts.

“Mr Ebrahimzadeh has had no contact with his family for 17 days, and his family is unaware of his fate, which makes them very anxious,” a source close to the family revealed to HRANA.

Ebrahimzadeh was arrested on Friday, August 17, 2018, and transferred to a Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Detention Center in Kermanshah the same day.

Ebrahimzadeh, who was born in 1977 in Oshnavieh (West Azerbaijan province), has been detained several times since 2008 in cases related to his labor activism. His imprisonments have previously gained international attention.

On Friday, August 31, 2018, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Mike Palecek issued a statement addressed to Iranian authorities, condemning Ebrahimzadeh’s most recent arrest and demanding his immediate release.

In a previous report, a source close to Ebrahimzadeh told HRANA: “He was arrested by security forces around Kermanshah while en route to assist survivors of the Kermanshah earthquake, and taken to an unknown location on Friday, August 17, 2018. After three days of persistent inquiry, his family learned of his detention, but no information about the reason for his arrest is available.”

In May 2017, HRANA announced Ebrahimzadeh’s release from Rajai Shahr Prison after serving seven years in prison.