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Labor Leader Claiming Torture Says 'Stop Lying To The People'

Esmail Bakhshi, a representative of Haft Tapeh sugar mill workers (R), and civil activist Sepideh Qolian, undated.
Esmail Bakhshi, a representative of Haft Tapeh sugar mill workers (R), and civil activist Sepideh Qolian, undated.

The government, judiciary, and parliament insist that they are following-up my case, but, they have kept me in the dark, labor leader of sugar mill workers Esmail Bakhshi has said on his Instagram account.

"Nobody has talked to me or listened to my testament," Bakhshi has noted, adding, "I've got nothing to say, but telling them to stop lying to the people."

Bakhshi claimed earlier this weak that he had been tortured and severely battered by the Intelligence Ministry's interrogators.

Bakhshi, spokesman for the labor union of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane industrial complex in Shush, in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, was arrested on November 20, 2018, during ongoing demonstrations by workers demanding unpaid wages.

He was released on December 12 after 80 international labor organizations signed a letter addressed to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for all protesting workers and teachers who had been arrested for peacefully demanding their rights to be released.

Bakhshi's allegation was denied by the Intelligence Ministry and the Prosecutor-General of the city of Shush, but a young journalist and civil rights activist, Ms. Sepideh Qolian, who was arrested alongside Bakhshi has vehemently supported his claims, as an eyewitness.

Ms. Qolian disclosed in a tweet that "Bakhshi’s torture in the first ten days was so severe, I thought he must have died."

Some reports on January 10 said that the reformist block in parliament has met with Bakhsi, but no details have emerged.

Bakhshi has challenged the Intelligence Minister, a mid-ranking cleric, Mahmoud Alavi, calling him to a live TV debate about the behavior of his agents with the detainees.

Alavi has not responded to the call, so far, but testified about Bakhshi's allegation in a session of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, behind closed doors.

Bakhshi has not yet been invited to the commission to present his own version of the events.