Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Molly has blogged on the subject of the government repression of the Haft Tapeh sugar workers in Iran before. The following is an update on the situation from the international union federation, the IUF.
Two Haft Tapeh Sugar Leaders Still Facing Lengthy Prison Terms in Iran - Act Now!:
Three of the leaders of the Haft Tapeh sugarworkers' union in Iran sentenced to prison earlier this year have had their sentences overturned on appeal.
However, Union president Ali Nejati and communications officer Reza Rekhshan still face prison sentences while their appeal process drags on - and their imprisonment would be a severe blow to the sugarworkers' struggle for an independent union. The charges against Rekhshan include providing information to foreign trade unionists on the horrendous working conditions at Haft Tapeh.
Ali Nejati has been denied work at Haft Tapeh since his April release from over a month's solitary confinement in an Intelligence detention center. Nejati has been generally blacklisted from all work in the city of Shush and the situation for him and his family is becoming increasingly desperate.
Thousands of trade union rights supporters around the world have protested the repression against the Haft Tapeh union and its leaders. Ali Nejati was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International following the Haft Tapeh court convictions. International protests presumably played a role in influencing the decision of the appeals court to dismiss the ludicrous charges including "undermining national security."
Pressure is now urgently needed on the Iranian authorities to overturn the convictions of Ali Nejati and Reza Rekhshan - CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally annul the sentences against the Haft Tapeh unionists and immediately reinstate Ali Nejati at his job! Some intended recipients' messages may be rejected due to server overload - others will get through, however.
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.
Since September 9 over 500 workers have been on strike at Haft Tapeh demanding the restoration of the monthly overtime which management has cut from 120 to 40 hours. So low is the base wage that workers have to put in up to 120 additional hours per month to ensure minimal survival for themselves and their families. Cutters harvesting cane by hand in blistering heat work 6 months out of the year alternating with 6 months unemployment without compensation.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to the Iranian authorities.
To His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei - Leader of the Islamic Republic
To the Minister of Justice His Excellency Ali Larijani
To the 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
Dear Sirs
I am deeply concerned to learn that serious charges against two elected officers of the Haft Tapeh sugarworkers union, Ali Nejati and Reza Rekhshan, remain in force despite the fact that similar charges against other union officers were overturned on August 18 by the Dezful Branch 2 Court. The charges against Ali Nejati and Reza Rekhshan are as groundless as those which have been overturned in the case of the other Haft Tapeh officers, and there can be no justification for further delay in unconditionally annulling all charges. We also bring to your attention the fact that Ali Nejati has been refused employment at Haft Tapeh since his release from prison - a gross violation of fundamental human rights, and demand his immediate reinstatement.
Yours sincerely

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