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Iran clamps down on trade unions - again!

Our friends at Human Rights Watch have condemned a new wave of arrests of independent trade unionists in Iran - earlier attacks on free trade unionism have been catalogued on this blog and at Justice for Iranian Workers. They report that:

  • on 15 January, intelligence agents arrested Shahrokh Zamani, a Tabriz labour rights leader, and summoned two others also in Tabriz;
  • authorities also arrested Shays Amani, a prominent rights activist and member of an independent trade union in the city of Sanandaj on 16 January;
  • on 18 January, security forces arrested Mohammad Jarrahi in his home in Tabriz; and 
  • on 28 January, authorities arrested Alireza Akhavan, a teacher trade unionist, in his home in Tehran. It is not known where he is currently being held.

Earlier in the month authorities detained Mehdi Shandeez and transferred to Ward 350 of Evin prison in Tehran. All those arrested are activists or members of independent trade unions not authorised by the government.

“Independent trade unions have played a critical role in protecting workers’ rights under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This latest round of arrests continues a long and ugly tradition of targeting independent trade unions to enforce full state control over these groups.”

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