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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) announced that trade unionist Mansour Osanloo was released yesterday, after almost four years of imprisonment in Iran.  His crime?  Wanting to join a trade union.

Since 2007, CUPE members have participated in rallies, online campaigns and sent letters that helped keep the pressure up and lead to Osanloo’s release. 

In December 2010, CUPE National President Paul Moist sent a letter to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran protesting the continuing harassment of union activists and calling for their immediate release.

This is a welcome day for Mansour’s family, friends, and trade unionists around the world,” said Moist. “I’d like to thank CUPE members for their involvement and solidarity in the ITF’s campaign.”

Moist noted that CUPE will continue to work in solidarity with trade unions around the world to ensure their fundamental rights are respected.

Mansour’s release is conditional on his ‘good behaviour’ and the payment of a bond.  ITF says that although this falls short of the Iranian government’s promise, it is welcome given the deterioration of Mansour’s health.  Two of his colleagues, Reza Shahabi and Ebrahim Madadi remain in prison.

Mansour Osanloo was a bus driver and is the president and one of the founding members of the Vahed Syndicate, a free trade union representing Tehran’s bus workers. From its beginnings in 2005 the ITF-affiliated union was subjected to heavy repression, including repeated attacks and arrests. Mansour Osanloo was heavily targeted.

In 2007 he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state’. In 2010 another year was added to his sentence.

The ITF is an international trade union federation of transport workers’ unions. LabourStart has in-depth coverage of workers’ struggles in Iran.