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Labor Activists’ Wife and 50 Protesters Detained for Hours


Imprisoned Labor Activist Reza Shahabi and his wife, Robabeh Rezaei, undated

Labor activist, Reza Shahabi’s wife was detained along fifty others while demanding her husband’s release from Rajaei Shahr prison, near the capital, Tehran.

They were assembled in front of the Ministry Of Labor and Social Welfare in Tehran when security forces rounded them up and took them to the notorious Evin prison.

Before being released, they were told to stop participating in protest assemblies, an informed source told Radio Farda on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier, Shahabi’s wife, Robabeh Rezaei, had publicly declared that since the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare was responsible for supporting workers, she would go there on Tuesday morning, December 26, to demand her husband’s immediate release.

The Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) and several social media rights activists declared that they would also gather in front of the ministry to support Mrs. Shahabi’s demand.

Shahabi, treasurer and a board member of (UWTSBC), was arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security” for peacefully advocating labor rights in Iran. He was also banned from engaging in civic activism for five years, Center for Human Rights in Iran, CHRI reported.

After two strokes, Reza Shahbi’s health condition has been reported “grave”.

“During a prison visit on Wednesday [December 13, 2017], his relatives noticed that the left side of Shahabi’s face was drooping and that his left eye had sunken in,” UWTSBC said in a statement.

“Shahabi said when he went to the prison clinic, the doctor told him he had suffered a mild stroke.”

Even after the stroke, Shahabi was not transferred to the hospital for a checkup to prevent him from getting worse, noted the UWTSBC.

“His stroke proves that the doctors were right when they determined he is not healthy enough to endure prison conditions---Therefore, he must be freed immediately and unconditionally.”

“We hold the security agencies, the Tehran prosecutor, and prison officials responsible for Shahabi’s life,” added the statement.

Meanwhile, riot police and plainclothes stormed into the gathering on Tuesday morning, beating up protesters, Free Labor Union of Iran, FLUI reported.

According to FLUI, a member of the union, Hassan Saeidi was so brutally battered that he was taken to a hospital.

However, Saeidi, after being treated was also detained and taken to Evin prison.

The “elements” affiliated with the ministry were also involved in battering the demonstrators, FLUI maintained.

The report has not yet been confirmed or denied by the Islamic Republic’s officials.

According to CHRI, in September 2014, Shahabi was granted medical leave but nearly three years later was informed that the time he had spent outside the prison on medical furlough was not counted as time served and that he would have to return to the prison.

When Shahabi returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison on August 8, 2017, he was told he would have to serve the five months that remained on his sentence before he was released on furlough as well as a year for his alleged role in a clash between guards and prisoners in Evin Prison on April 17, 2014, that left many prisoners injured.

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