Monday, March 02, 2009

The Iranian government is continuing to try and crush the independent union of Haft Tapeh sugar workers with yet more arrests. Here's a report from the IUF and another appeal for solidarity,
New Arrests in Iran as Government Steps up Repression of Independent Sugar Union - Act Now!:
The government of Iran is stepping up its pressure against the Haft Tapeh sugar workers' union with new arrests. While the 5 union leaders arrested in December and charged with "endangering national security" and "anti-government propaganda" still await sentencing from the trial which ended on February 17, Haft Tapeh Executive Board member Rahim Beshag was arrested by the secret police on February 22.

Following a low turnout for the February 24 election to the Haft Tapeh "Islamic Labour Council" ordered by the Ministry of labour, security forces struck again on February 28 by arresting communications officer Reza Rakhshan. Both men's homes were raided and their computers confiscated. The charges have not been made public.

Escalating repression against the Haft Tapeh workers has been accompanied by reports of new harassment against other independent trade union and labour rights activists, presumably to create a climate of fear in advance of May Day and the presidential elections scheduled for June 12. International pressure is urgently needed to press the government to free all the Haft Tapeh leaders. CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the Haft Tapeh union leaders.

You can also send a message to the Iranian embassy or diplomatic representation in your country - or pay them a visit! A complete list of embassies/consulates is available here, and you can generally find e-mail addresses by searching the internet for the individual representation in your country.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to Iranian authorities.
To His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei - Leader of the Islamic Republic

To Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi - Head of the Judiciary

To the Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Institutions in Geneva

To Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
Dear Sirs
I am deeply concerned that five leaders of the trade union of workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation and Industry Company in Shush were charged on 20 December 2008 with acting against national security as a result of their trade union activity.

The five men are: Ali Nejati, Feridoun Nikoufard, Mohammed Heydari Mehr, Ghorban Alipour and Jalil Ahmadi. I believe that these charges are groundless, and that the defendants are on trial for attempting to exercise their basic human rights.
I am also shocked to learn that Haft Tapeh Executive Board member Rahim Beshag was arrested on February 22, and Communications Officer Reza Rakhshanare on February 28. I believe that these 7 men are innocent and that all charges must be dropped immediately and unconditionally.

I support the ongoing international campaign by trade unions and human rights activists to promote and defend workers’ rights in Iran and will closely follow developments in this campaign.
Yours sincerely

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