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Prominent Labor Activist Freed From Prison

Reza Shahabi , labor activist , with his family after his release from prison on March 13.

Reza Shahabi, a prominent labor activists who has spent years in prison has been released from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Shahabi was a board member and the treasurer for the Union of Workers of Tehran and the Suburban Bus Company (UWTSBC)

“Free Shahabi Campaign” and the Committee for follow-up of the establishment of Trade Unions who reported the news on Tuesday, March 13, said that Shahbi has not received the official letter confirming his release, but he has been told to pay nearly $1900 as “penalty”.

Furthermore, the prominent labor rights activist has been informed that he would not be allowed to participate in any sort of labor rights activities or joining political parties for two years.

Shahabi, 45-year old veteran labor rights activist, was initially arrested and sentenced to five years in 2010, accused of “actions against national security”; a routine, yet ambiguous, charge which the Islamic Republic’s courts use to condemn whoever the establishment describes as a dissident.

During his imprisonment Shah bi suffered from serious health problems but was denied proper medical treatment.

Human Rights activists had repeatedly declared that Reza Shahabi’s only “crime” has been defending labor rights and encouraging the workers in Iran to launch their own independent Trade Unions.

Article 26 of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution explicitly stipulates, “The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations, as well as religious societies, whether Islamic or pertaining to one of the recognized religious minorities, is permitted provided they do not violate the principles of independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic Republic”.

However, disregarding its own constitution, the Islamic Republic does not recognize independent trade union