Labor activists in Iran say a detained worker and labor leader was tortured in custody and hospitalized in recent days, while officials deny the accusations.
Esmail Bakhshi was arrested on November 18 in Shush during labor protests at local sugarcane mill, together with more than a dozen labor activists and workers. The others were later released. Shush is located in the oil-rich Khuzestan province.
The news about his possible injury in custody was reported by the bus drivers’ union in the capital Tehran. On Thursday, the union published a statement saying Bakhshi “was hospitalized in a security clinic in Ahvaz”, the capital of Khuzestan, but he was later returned to the initial detention facility.
The statement adds that Bakhsi was subjected to “psychological abuse and physical attacks” in detention to force him to admit to false accusations.
The union of the sugar mill where Bakhsi works re-published the statement issued by the Tehran labor activists.
The governor of Khuzestan province and the prosecutor in Shush have denied that the prisoner was tortured or hospitalized.
Iranian law enforcement and judicial authorities often do not release accurate information about detainees, especially in civil rights and political cases. There are few mechanisms to hold these authorities accountable in Iran.