Thursday , 18 July 2024

Relatives Of Jailed Labor Activists In Iran Say Security Agents Are Threatening Them

RFL/RE – Many relatives of civic and labor activists detained in Iran say security agents are issuing threats if they don’t remain silent about their loved ones’ cases.

Trade union rallies in Iran demanding the release of imprisoned teachers and workers.

The families of Jafar Ebrahimi, Anisha Asadollahi, Rasul Badaghi, Mohammad Habibi, Hassan Saeedi, Reza Shahabi, Eskandar Lotfi, Shaban Mohammadi, Keyvan Mohtadi, and Massud Nikkhah — activists who have been detained due to their participation in labor protests — wrote about the threats in an open letter.

“In the past two months, not only has the pressure on our loved ones not ended, but prison officials have banned us from visiting them,” they wrote.

Citing what they called the “negligence” of judicial officials in these cases, the signatories of the letter said the authorities told them that “if they do not remain silent, the situation will become more complicated.”

The signatories called for an “immediate cessation of false allegations” and an “end to repeated, derogatory, and threatening interrogations.”

“There is no justification for the continued detention of these activists,” they said, adding that “threats and insults from prison officials and interrogators in dealing with detainees and their families are a clear example of persecution.”

In May, security forces raided the homes of cultural and labor activists, arresting many of them and sending them to the notorious Evin prison.

UN human rights experts have previously expressed serious concern about the “violent repression” of civil society in Iran, including union members and teachers arrested for protesting low or unpaid wages and poor working conditions.

Labor protests in Iran have been on the rise in response to declining living standards, wage arrears, and a lack of insurance support. The labor law in Iran does not recognize the right of workers to form independent unions.

At the same time, pensioners and other groups have been protesting in recent months about the poor economic situation in the country, blaming the government for spiraling inflation, high unemployment, and failing to deliver on pledges to increase wages and improve living conditions.

The government’s response to the protests has been arrests, violence, and repression of participants.

With writing and reporting by Ardeshir Tayebi