Friday , 8 December 2023

Two Jailed Teacher Trade Unionists Need “Prompt Specialised” Medical Care

Iranwire – An international union federation of teachers has urged the Iranian authorities to immediately grant medical leave to Jafar Ebrahimi and Esmail Abdi, two prominent teacher union activists said to be in a critical health situation while incarcerated in the Islamic Republic.

Jafar Ebrahimi

Ebrahimi and Abdi “have not violated any national or international laws,” the general secretary of Brussels-based Education International, David Edwards, wrote in a letter addressed to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

“Their arrest, imprisonment and continued detention are a violation of the fundamental right of workers to freedom of association and expression. They need prompt specialised medical attention and proper care. We hold the Iranian government accountable for any harm that may befall on teacher unionists while incarcerated in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Edwards added.

Education International unites more than 380 teacher unions, including the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations (CCITTA). 

Ebrahimi, a member of CCITTA’s board, was detained in April 2022 ahead of protests to be held the next day, Teachers’ Day in Iran. 

In August, a Tehran appeals court upheld a five-year prison sentence handed to him. The authorities have also pressed new charges against him.

“He has been suffering from an intestinal disease and his condition has significantly worsened during his confinement at [Tehran’s] Evin Prison over the last twenty months,” Edwards wrote. “He was only permitted access to a hospital once, and the treatment was done under severe security, denying him the right to comprehensive medical care.”

Ebrahimi’s diabetes has worsened and information has surfaced suggesting that he may totally lose his vision, the general secretary of Education International warned.

Instead of being hospitalized, he was transferred on September 3 from Evin to the Ghezelhesar prison in Karaj, near Tehran. 

Abdi, another union leader, has been imprisoned since July 2015 and is now detained at the Kechoui prison, also in Karaj.

His physical health has deteriorated, with “chronic pain in his hands and muscles, as well as critical dental problems,” Edwards said.

“Despite the strong recommendation from medical practitioners within the prison requesting specialised medical treatment outside the facility, the prosecutor of Tehran has refused to issue the judicial order authorising his transfer,” he added.