Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2017, 09:48 GMT

2016 ITUC Global Rights Index - Iran

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2016
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2016 ITUC Global Rights Index - Iran, 9 June 2016, available at: [accessed 18 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Union leader dies from ill-treatment in prison: Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Founding Board of the Syndicate of Paint Workers of Tehran and the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers Organisations, was found dead on 13 September 2015 in Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) Prison in Karaj.

Shahrokh Zamani was originally arrested in June 2011 and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for the crime of "spreading propaganda against the regime and forming socialist groups" and "endangering national security". He was an active trade union leader, organising workers and defending their rights.

Shahrokh's cellmate found his body, with blood in his mouth and nose, when he tried to wake him up in the morning. The authorities claimed his death was from natural causes.

Mr. Zamani had no health problems before entering prison, according to his daughter, but became increasingly unwell as a result of his treatment in prison. One year into his sentence, Shahrokh Zamani wrote a letter to labour and human rights organisations, describing the physical and mental torture he was subjected to. He also expressed concerns that his and other political prisoners' lives were in danger. He staged hunger strikes in protest at his ill-treatment. Despite suffering occasional loss of consciousness due to his ill-treatment and torture, he was denied medication and had to wait a year to be sent for an MRI scan. He was also denied visitors, and suffered from the knowledge that his family faced endless harassment from the government.

More prison sentences handed down to teachers: Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers' Trade Association (ITTA-Tehran) was sentenced to six years in prison by branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court, presided over by the notorious Judge Salavati. The verdict was announced on 22 February 2016 , following a trial which began on 31 January. The charges against Esmail Abdi included "gathering and colluding with intent to harm public order" and "propaganda against the system". The real reasons for his arrest and imprisonment, said his union, were his trade union activism as the general secretary of the ITTA (Tehran) and his leading role the teachers' protests.

Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi, a spokesperson for the ITTA, Mohammad Reza Niknejad and Mehdi Bohlooli, both former board members of the ITTA (Tehran), were sentenced on 7 March 2016 by the Islamic Revolutionary court in Tehran. Each was sentenced to five years in prison by the trial court which is subject to review in the appeals court. Mahmoud Beheshti Langroodi was already serving a nine year prison sentence, which was ordered by Judge Salavati in a trial that last only a few minutes. Mohammad Reza Niknejad and Mehdi Bohlooli had been released on a three hundred million toman bail on 29 September 2015, following their arrest on 31 August.

Mine workers arrested for protesting at layoffs: Twenty workers at the Khatoonabad Copper Mine Complex in Kerman were arrested on 26 January 2016 for taking part in protests. The workers were arrested after they gathered to protest against unpaid wages and the dismissal of 130 contract workers, after a series of tests announced back in September 2015. On 13 February 2016, 23 of those arrested were released on bail.

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