Tuesday , 20 August 2019

Workers’ Rights Activists Arrested for Revealing Torture by Intelligence Ministry Held Unlawfully

CHRI – Lawyers representing workers’ rights activists Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Qoliyan say the two are being held unlawfully now that their two-month detention orders have expired.

“[Bakhshi’s] detention order ended on March 21 without an extension, which makes his detention a violation of Article 242 of the Criminal Procedures Regulations,” Bakhshi’s lawyer, Farzaneh Zilabi, told the Telegram app channel of the Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers’ union on April 19, 2019.

“His incarceration is most certainly against the law,” she added.

Qoliyan is also being held unlawfully, according to her lawyer.

“The important point is that my client is being unlawfully kept in detention,” Qoliyan’s lawyer Jamal Heydari told Ensaf News on April 16.

“None of the authorities are taking responsibility for keeping her behind bars without a judicial order,” he added. “That’s against the law. We demand her freedom.”

Bakhshi, a Haft Tappeh union representative, and Qoliyan, a freelance reporter who was covering protests in Shush, Khuzestan Province, where the sugar mill is located, were first arrested on November 18, 2018.

After their release on bail about a month later, Bakhshi and Qoliyan publicly accused Intelligence Ministry agents of torturing Bakhshi. A post by Bakhshi about his experience also received thousands of views on Instagram.

On January 20, two weeks after the publication of both of their statements on social media sites, Bakhshi and Qoliyan were re-arrested and have been in detention ever since.

Bakhshi is being held in Sheiban Prison and Qoliyan in Sepidar Prison, both located in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province’s capital.

Their lawyers expect them to be tried at the Shahid Moghaddas Court in Tehran’s Evil Prison but no date has been set.

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