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CUPE National President Paul Moist recently sent this letter to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran protesting the continuing harassment of union activists in that country. Over the last month, several union activists have been arrested and detained. The letter calls for their immediate release.

Iran – Harassment of independent trade unions

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Union of Public Employees to protest in the strongest possible terms against the ongoing harassment of the independent trade union movement in Iran.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been informed by the ITUC that on Monday November 23, Morteza Komsari, a member of the Vahed Syndicate, was detained.  He received a summon letter from the court and was arrested upon appearance.

On Monday November 17, the court of Shush issued six-month sentences for three Haft Tapeh workers, Alireza Saeedi, Behrooz Mollah Zadeh and Behrooz Nikoofar for “insulting the leader”.  The accusation is obviously made up to prevent them from exercising their legitimate trade union rights.

On November 9, Homayoun Jabari was held at branch four of the Rajai Shahr prison for eleven days.  He was arrested on Tuesday when he accompanied the wife of Gholamreza Gholamhosseini to the Intelligence Office to try and discover her husband’s whereabouts.  Security agents went to his home, took his computer and books, and warned his wife that if he didn’t co-operate with them, he would be staying in custody ‘for a long time’.  On November 20 he was released on bail of $30,000 USD.

On November 3, Saeed Torabian, Communications Director of the bus workers’ union and fellow trade unionist Gholamreza Gholamhosseini in Vahed Syndicate were attacked in a Karaj Internet café.  Shortly after their arrival, six men entered behind them and beat them up.  They were then dragged out and taken to prison.  After being interrogated and threatened, Saeed Torabian was released on bail, but as yet nothing is known about Gholamreza Gholamhosseini – except that he is still being held.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees urges you to halt any further harassment and abuse of trade union members.  We also urge you to immediately release Mansour Osanloo and all other imprisoned trade unionists being held on false grounds and to allow them to exercise their legitimate trade union activities.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees denounces these acts, and show solidarity with its Iranian brothers and sisters.  We remind you that Iran, as a member of the ILO, is under an obligation to respect the fundamental rights of trade unionists.

Yours truly,

National President