Reza Shahabi’s life endangered by his continued confinement! Tehran bus workers’ syndicate is urging all workers and labour organizations in Iran and throughout the world to utilize their maximum capacity for saving Reza Shahabi’s life!
Tehran’s Bus Workers Syndicate has been a target of perpetual harassment and persecution since its re-establishment in 2005, with many of our members either incarcerated or expelled from work. Reza Shahabi, a member of Vahed syndicate’s board of directors, was incarcerated in June 2010 and due to severe beatings by intelligence agents during his arrest and interrogations he had to go through two massive operations for his neck and spinal cord, hence spending some of his sentence on medical leave. While Reza Shahabi’s six-year prison sentence had already been ended, yet Tehran District Attorney claimed that a three months leave was not officially approved and he has to return to jail because of it. Shahabi agreed to return to prison for three months to prevent the confiscation of his surety’s property; however, after his re-incarceration on August 9, 2017, officials declared his entire medical leave as absence and informed him that he would have to spend 968 additional days in prison. This is while Shahabi’s sentence was completed and he has seen the letter of his release, issued on August 23, 2015, in his file. After a 50-day hunger strike by Reza Shahabi, which led to widespread protests in Iran and around the world, intelligence and judicial authorities promised to Shahabi’s family that they would urgently address his demands, but in recent weeks they have been pressuring Shahabi into acceding to end his trade union activity and his efforts in defense of workers’ rights. Shahabi, however, has resisted such pressures and steadfastly been insisting on his stance, which is the rights of workers for independent labour organization and unions, and has not succumbed under all the harassments and persecution imposed on him while incarcerated.
At the last visitation of Reza Shahabi’s family with him on 13 December 2017, the left side of his face was droopy and he had sunken eyes. Prison doctor has told him that he has had a minor stroke, but he wasn’t even moved to a hospital for examination and treatment until December 16th. Although prior to his minor stroke, doctors had warned that Shahabi is in no condition to endure another round of incarceration and there were specific requests from doctors recommending his freedom, not only he was not released but he has had a stroke in jail. It should be emphasized that Reza Shahabi is also experiencing constant high blood pressures and frequent nosebleeds in prison. He is suffering from severe and continuous headaches, numbness in his feet, and his kidneys are infected causing in frequent urination.
Vahed syndicate is seriously concerned about Reza Shahabi’s health and wellbeing. There is a great possibility that if Shahabi is not released very soon his health would be significantly deteriorating and his life will be in grave danger. The continuation of the unjust and illegal incarceration of Reza Shahabi is nothing less than hostage taking, and a blatant assault on his basic human rights and a violation of all conventions of International Labor Organization concerning the freedom of association and autonomous worker activism. Therefore, we urge all workers and labour organizations in Iran and throughout the world for immediate and emergency actions to fully utilize their capacities to save Reza Shahabi’s life and secure his immediate and unconditional release. Vahed Syndicate holds all government officials, especially the intelligence and judicial authorities, accountable for Reza Shahabi’s health and wellbeing.
In hope of strengthening workers’ solidarity around the world!
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Vahed Syndicate)
December 17, 2017 (Azar 26, 1396)
For a short biography of Reza Shahabi see