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Many Detained Steel Workers Freed, Ten Still Held

Steel Workers protest after anti-riot police arrested more than 50 workers.
Steel Workers protest after anti-riot police arrested more than 50 workers.

More than 40 detained workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran, were released on June 14, the Free Workers Union of Iran (FWU) reported.

But FWU added that some workers still remain in detention. “Their fellow workers have assembled in front of the Justice Department in Ahvaz demanding the release of 10 other workers still behind bars.”

INSIG workers have been protesting delayed wages, calling on the government to return the complex to the public sector.

Ten workers who are still in custody were detained after three Ahvaz MPs filed a legal complaint and accused them of breaking windows at their offices.

The enraged workers have insisted they will continue their protest until all of the detainees are freed, FWU announced.

FWU had earlier reported, “Security forces carried out a ‘barbaric raid’ against the workers on strike and arrested nearly 50 workers on June 11. About 15 steelworkers were also arrested the next day at a rally in front of the Khuzestan governor general’s office.”

FWU also reported that four of the detainees were brutally battered after being taken to a detention center exclusively run for keeping suspects arrested for narcotic drug offenses.

“One of the workers was battered to the extent that suffered from hemorrhage, but the authorities did not make an effort to transfer him to a medical facility,” FWU declared.

Furthermore, according to FWU, one of the detainees, while in custody, was shot by a taser gun.

Immediately after the incident, several labor and human rights activists criticized the attack, noting that shooting at a detainee with a taser gun amounts to torture, which is against international law and Iran’s own constitution.

The authorities, including security forces, intelligence agents, and judiciary officials, have not denied the incidents reported by FWU and other sources close to the protesting workers.

Nearly 4,000 INSIG workers have been on strike for more than three months demanding overdue wages and bonuses.