Free Political Prisoners, Human Rights, Solidarity with Workers

About Sharif Saaed-panaah

About Sharif Saaed-panaah

Sharif (left) and Mozaffar

Sharif (left) and Mozaffar

Sharif Saaed-panaah, one of six Coordinators of the 30,000 signature Workers’ Petition and board member of Independent Iranian Workers’ Union, was arrested at his home on the afternoon of Sunday 10 March 2013 and as of today remains detained in the (Ministry of) Information Office of Sanandaj.

Sharif Saaed-panaah is a worker who, despite the daily difficulties and miseries that he faces in life, has served at the forefront of the Coordinators’ endeavors to collect the (Petition) signatures of other workers. On the 19th of last December, he left Sanandaj towards Tehran with an unshakable determination to follow up on the 30,000 signature Petition, and together with other Coordinators of the Petition participated in a protest sit-in outside the Islamic Parliament.

Sharif worked for 7 years at Par-Ris Spinning Factory and represented this factory’s workers. During all the years that he represented his colleagues, he never failed to defend his human rights and those of his colleagues. Sharif, with commendable courage, was always in the first row of the factory workers’ protests, and as a representative of workers, he never surrendered to bribery (in the form of) propositions of better positions in the factory. This is the reason that two years ago, despite the fact that the Court of Administrative Justice had ruled that he could return to his job through its dismissal of the temporary work contract, he was not allowed back to work at Par-Ris Spinning Factory. As a result of conspiracy between the employer and Sanandaj’s Bureau of Labour, he was expelled along with his other colleagues.

Consequently, after more than a year of unemployment and poverty, Sharif was employed at Mehr Housing Project in the city of Sanandaj. He was resting at home after a 12-hour night-shift when he was arrested.

Although Sharif represented the workers at Par-Ris Spinning Factory, he was aware of the fact that achieving workers’ demands within an isolated factory does not guarantee the maintenance of improvements in their situation.  Therefore, he joined the vanguard of the Independent Iranian Workers’ Union when it established its founding board in 2006.  During the Union’s first General Assembly in the spring of 2007, with 150 participant workers from the country’s different factories, he was elected to the Board of Directors with a great number of votes.

In all 6 years of his membership in the Independent Iranian Workers’ Union and in all other general assemblies, Sharif Saaed-panaah has been elected to the Board of Directors with great numbers of the workers’ votes. Throughout all these years, in his capacity as a board member, he has been one of most active members of the Independent Iranian Workers’ Union.

On 5 January 2012, Sharif and another board member of the Independent Iranian Workers’ Union, Mozaffar Saaleh-nia, were arrested on false charges and have been prosecuted several times since then.  On 23 February 2013, during the last court hearing of the cases of Sharif Saaed-panaah and Mozaffar Saaleh-nia, they were informed by the judge that if they were to report to the (Ministry of) Information Office and commit themselves to resigning from the Independent Iranian Workers’ Union, they would be acquitted of all charges; otherwise, they would await sentencing. Sharif and Mozaffar, emphasizing the legality of the Independent Iranian Worker’s Union, have declared that they will continue their activities and membership in the Union.

Sharif Saaed-panah was born in 1963 and has a family of five. He has a daughter, Soomaa, age 26, and a son, Keivan, age 24. The family, including his mother-in-law, all live in a 50-square-meter house in the vicinity of TohidHospital in Sanandaj.

11 March 2013

Independent Iranian Workers’ Union

Translated from Farsi by Ahmad Fatemi

Edited by Maria Rohaly

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