From: The National Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers of Iran
To: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
18 Feb 2008
As you are aware the police and security forces assaulted last year’s peaceful May 1st rally in the city of Sanandaj, battered workers, and arrested 13 of them. Among them were Mr. Shays Amaani and Mr. Seddigh Karimi, President and Executive Committee member of our union, respectively. They were released on a $50,000 bail each after 42 days in detention. The court sentenced them to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. We appealed, but the Court of Appeal has not yet given its verdict.
Mr. Khaaled Savaari, Vice President of the union, was also among the detainees, the majority of whom were members of our union. This group were released after 9 to 12 days in detention, and the Lower Court sentenced each to 91 days’ imprisonment and 10 lashes. Our union strongly protested against this verdict, and did so too in writing. It addressed its objection to, among others, the Judiciary and Members of the Islamic Majles (National Assembly), asking for the verdict to be overturned by the Court of Appeal. The Provincial Appeal Court of Kurdistan, however, on 8 Dec 2007 returned a verdict in which the prison sentences of our friends were changed into fines, but the lashing had been upheld. This verdict has been referred now to another court in charge of execution of the sentences.
On 14 Feb 2008 the latter court issued an unofficial summons ordering Mr. Seddigh Amjadi, one of the 11 convicted workers, to appear before it on 16 Feb, with which he complied. The court both forced his family to pay the fine and executed the 10 lashes on him on the spot.*
It goes without saying that in today’s world lashing workers for participating in May 1st actions is an utmost inhuman attempt to annihilate the achievements of the world working class; achievements for which millions of workers from across the world have gravely suffered and even paid with their lives. Issuing and executing the mediaeval verdict of lashing in the case of the workers in Iran should sound the alarm for the world working class as a whole, and we expect you, dear friends, as well as all workers of the world, to respond to it with all possible might.
It should be noted that all this is transpiring against the background of Islamic Republic’s continuing to hold Mr. Mansoor Osanloo, despite his recent eye surgery, and Mr. Mahmood Salehi, despite his grave ailment and frequent passing-outs in prison, thus violating all international standards both within the framework of the ILO, of which the Islamic Republic is a member, and outside it. Iranian authorities, who have so far totally ignored all requests by international human rights and labour organizations in regards to their conditions as well as their innocence, now hand down and execute sentences of lashing in regards to other workers for taking part in the International Workers’ Day rallies!
While we are truly grateful for what you have done so far for the Iranian workers, we also expect you, dear friends in the International Trade Union Confederation, to vehemently protest against the execution of the lashing sentence in the case of Mr. Seddigh Amjadi. We request that you urgently act to demand the ILO and all concerned bodies that the mediaeval verdict of lashing, as well as fine, in the case of Sanandaj workers for participating in May 1st rallies must be overturned immediately. Please register this letter with the ILO as our official complaint, and demand the banning of self-appointed labour representatives of Iran from that organization.
National Union of Dismissed and Unemployed Workers of Iran
[Translated by the International Labour Solidarity Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran]
* Two other workers - Fares Gaviliaan and Habibollah Kalekaani - were flogged on 19 February – Translator’s note