Pedram Nasrollahi, a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations who was arrested by security forces on 8 March 2011 and jailed for 48 days before being released on bail of 70 million touman, was sentenced to 19 months in prison in the Court of Revision. He had been sentenced to 3 years in prison by the Lower Court. Pedram’s crime to deserve such punishment is his membership in the Coordinating Committee, and unsubstantiated accusations of association with the opposition.
This ruling against Pedram has been issued while Reza Shahabi, Board member of the Vahed Syndicate of Tehran, and Behnam Ebrahimzadeh have been jailed for about two and a half years, and the news published about Shahrokh Zamani and Mohammad Jarahi indicate imposition of hardships against these two other imprisoned workers.
Reza Shahabi’s sentence has been commuted by two years and he is set to be released in March 2014. Of course, this reduction in Reza Shahabi’s sentence does not affect his conditions in the least: he has gone through a major surgical operation and, despite an ailing body, he has been kept imprisoned. With regard to Reza Shahabi’s severe health condition, he should be immediately and unconditionally released.
Pedram Nasrollahi has not committed any crime other than being a member of a labour institution. It is Pedram’s and every Iranian worker’s right to join any organization or institution that strives for improvement in workers’ living conditions. We at the Iranian Independent Workers’ Union believe that any organization or institution formed by the workers themselves to fulfil the objective of achieving workers’ human rights, in any level, for [specific] sectors of workers or for all of them, are the most genuine and legal representatives of Iranian workers. The Vahed Syndicate, the Syndicate of the Workers of Haft-Tappeh, the Association of Supporters of Labour Rights, the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, the Board to Re-Open the Mechanical Metal Workers’ Syndicate, Kermanshah’s Electrical and Metal Workers’ Trade Union, the Committee to Follow Up on Forming Free Labour Organizations, and the Coordinating Committee to Form Independent Workers’ Organizations are all among organizations and institutions related to Iranian workers’ endeavour to achieve their human rights, which have been established without any connection to the power institutions. Every worker has the right to join these organizations and institutions, or directly form their own independent organizations. This is the most evident social and human right of Iranian workers and certainly no anti-labourer pressures and measures will be able to prevent the realization and institutionalization of these rights.
The Iranian Independent Workers’ Union, while emphasizing workers’ natural right to defend their existence, declares that no worker should be detained or prosecuted on the basis of ridiculous accusations of participating in protests, strikes, gatherings, forming organizations, and endeavouring to achieve his or her human rights.
Pedram Nasrollahi’s sentence must be overturned. Reza Shahabi, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarahi, and other honourable human beings who have been imprisoned for protesting against inequality should be released immediately and unconditionally.
We, workers unionized in the Iranian Independent Workers’ Union, and millions of honourable workers across Iran demand this.
Iranian Independent Workers’ Union
3 November 2012