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Five Years Prison for Teachers' Spokesman

The sentence for the spokesman of the Iran Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) has been upheld by a court, sources close to Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi say.

Langroudi is currently behind bars at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, serving his term for a separate conviction.

In an interview with Radio Farda, Langroudi’s son, Abouzar, said that with the new verdict in, his father is slated for 14 years behind bars.

The recent five-year sentence upheld by the judiciary is related to charges that led to Langroudi’s imprisonment two years ago, Abouzar noted.

According to Abouzar, his father was detained in 2004, 2006, and 2010 and has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

“The charges that have been repeated in all legal cases against my father are assembly and collusion against national security and anti-regime propagation,” Abouzar told Radio Farda.

However, Abouzar insists, “My father joined teachers’ rights activities in 1999 and since has never given them up.”

In many cases, Iranian institutions do not recognize trade association or union activities. Therefore, many workers in Iran are practically deprived of the right to launch a trade union.

The Iranian teachers’ society has lost almost all of its hope and confidence in the judiciary, yet it still expects to see the president to take action toward defending teachers’ rights.
Iranian Teachers' Union Activists In Open Letter to Hassan Rouhani

The police and security forces harshly suppress peaceful union assemblies and detain workers’ rights activists.

Recently, on September 3, two international labor unions supporting teachers and workers’ rights bitterly criticized Iran for its actions against activists and peaceful union assemblies.

Furthermore, in an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani, Teachers' Union activists from several provinces in Iran have called upon him to dismantle legal and real hurdles blocking union activities and establish a committee to defend activists and stop discrimination against them.

Referring to the Intelligence Ministry’s complaint against Langroudi, the signatories appealed to Rouhani to force the ministry to halt filing complaints against teachers.

“By re-arresting teachers' rights activists Esmaeil Abdi, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, Mohssen Omrani, and Mokhtar Assadi on the verge of the new educational year, the judiciary has increased its aversion against the teachers,” ITTA Telegram Channel quoted the letter as reading.

Based on the heavy sentences issued against activist teachers, the letter insists, “The Iranian teachers’ society has lost almost all of its hope and confidence in the judiciary, yet it still expects to see the president to take action toward defending teachers’ rights.”

Earlier, in an open letter reflected on social media, Langroudi had said, “I was expecting [Rouhani’s] Intelligence Ministry to stop persecuting political and civil rights activists, but my summons and other recent harsh actions show that nothing has changed.”

“I have warned the Tehran prosecutor’s office that I will go on a dry hunger strike the day I am returned to prison,” he said in a post on the Telegram social media service on August 28.

“I am a teacher and a trade union activist and board member of the Teachers’ Trade Association, a lawful organization,” he emphasized.

Langroudi, who was convicted in a brief trial, believes the charges against him were politically motivated.

Nevertheless, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Article 168 of the Iranian Constitution stipulates, “Political and press offenses will be tried openly and in the presence of a jury, in courts of justice.”

Since his return to Evin, Langroudi has been on hunger strike, pledging to continue until his 14-year combined prison sentence is reviewed in a public trial.

However, on September 17, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei insisted that no one in Iran is imprisoned for their religion or union activities.