Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Mahmoud Salehi (see accompanying photo), the former President of the Bakery Workers’ Association of the city of Saqez and a well-known labor activist in Iran, has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and a three year suspended prison sentence. Salehi was arrested on April 9, 2007 without any prior notice and was immediately transferred to the city of Sanandaj.

It is very clear that Salehi has been arrested for his labor activities, particularly given the fact that his earlier arrests were made in connection with his attempts to participate in a May Day 2004 celebration in Saqez.

The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran reports:

According to reports by Mahmoud Salehi’s family and colleagues as well as a statement issued by the Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization and other organizations in Iran and abroad, a commanding officer in the Saqez security force appeared at Salehi’s work and asked him to appear at the office of the prosecutor to discuss issues related to this year’s celebration of international workers’ day with the governor and the prosecutor. However, in the prosecutor’s office, Mahmoud was told that the Kurdistan Appeal Court has reached the final verdict on his case and that he has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and also a three year suspended prison sentence. He was then immediately arrested without giving him a chance to speak to his lawyer or family. Mahmoud protested against his arrest and the sentences against him and refused to sign the verdict. According to information received from the City of Saqez, Mahmoud’s wife, family and friends demanded to speak with Mahmoud but the authorities first refused but after they were told that the citizens of Saqez would be called to protest, they allowed Salehi to talk on the phone with his family, during which Salehi informed that he was being transferred to a prison in Sanandaj, the capital of the Kurdistan province. Authorities have informally suggested that Salehi might stay in Sanandaj for about a week and then might be transferred to another prison, probably in Ghorveh or Bijar, two other cities in the Kurdistan province.

The following is taken from the blog site of Maryam Namazie.

Mahmood Salehi, leading labour activist, arrested

Mahmood Salehi, a leading labour activist from the city of Saghez was re-arrested on Monday April 9 by the Islamic regime’s security forces. Salehi who was at work at the time was taken during his lunch break by armed security forces to the public prosecutor’s office regarding his bail on charges of organizing May Day strikes and demonstrations last year.

Later at the public prosecutor’s office, a revised court verdict was read to him summarily sentencing him to one year imprisonment and 3 years suspended sentence. He was immediately transferred to the city of Sanandaj prison.

Clearly this is an attempt to intimidate and attack the labour movement both in Iran and internationally. Last Year Manhood Salehi was bailed under immense international pressure from trade unions, and labour and progressive organizations internationally. In addition, this is an attempt to undermine the vibrant workers’ movement Iran which is preparing to organize for this year’s international May Day celebrations following a huge teachers’ strike in Iran in the last couple of months over pay and conditions which resulted in the arrest of 45 teachers’ activists in the city of Hamedan on Saturday 7th April 2007.

With nation-wide and daily protests such as the teachers’ strikes challenging the Islamic Republic of Iran, the regime is fearful of a powerful confrontation on May Day and is attempting to undermine the momentum of this movement by threats, intimidations and arrests of activists and labour leaders.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran condemns the arrest of Mahmood Salehi in Saghez and teachers in Hamedan and calls on all trade unions and international rights organizations and concerned individuals to join us in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mahmood Salehi and 45 arrested teachers in Hamedan and an end to the intimidation of labour activists.

Celebration of May Day, the day of International Labour Solidarity, is a fundamental right for all workers in the world.

International Labour Solidarity Committee of the WPI

Coordinator: Shahla Daneshfar
Public Relations: Bahram Soroush

Note to the Editors:
Mahmood Salehi has been arrested twice since May 2003 for organizing May Day during recent last years. He was freed as a result of huge international campaigns for his release on both occasions. Mahmood Salehi has been recalled to the court over and over and has been under permanent threat and pressure by the Islamic Republic of Iran since his first arrest in May Day of 2003.

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