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Labor Activist In Critical Condition

Reza Shahabi, Iranian labor activist, undated

The Union of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (UWTSBC) says the health of a member of its board of directors, Reza Shahabi is critical after hunger strike.

Meanwhile, the number of signatories of a petition calling for Mr. Shahabi’s release has reached almost 1500.

According to a statement issued by the union, the relatives of Shahabi, after visiting him in the Rajaei Shahr prison near Tehran on August 30, declared that he is suffering from acute weakness and his left hand has become totally numb.

24 days ago, Reza Shahabi went on hunger strike to protest his re-detention.

Shahabi, after returning to the prison under the Prosecutor-general Office pressures, found out that his medical furlough was rejected whereas it was approved by the Forensic Medicine Organization, FMO.

Therefore, according to the verdict, he was condemned to stay another 968 days behind bars. Yet, Shahabi had reportedly seen a formal letter confirming his release in 2015.

While expressing deep concern over Reza Shahabi’s critical health condition the union’s statement has held the judiciary and security organs of the Islamic republic responsible for Reza Shahabi’s health.

The statement has also reiterated that Shahabi should be released immediately without any condition.

Furthermore, it calls for the cancellation of a verdict against two other members of the UWTSBC, Alireza Madadi and Davoud Razavi.

The statement insists, “Shahabi’s and other members of the UWTSBC’s crime is launching a union, independent of the government ant employers, to achieve and demand their absolute rights. However, they have been either sacked or beaten-up”.

Earlier, in an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow had demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Shahabi.

The ITUC general secretary said, “Keeping Reza Shahabi behind bars is against Iran’s international commitments, which prohibit detaining labor activists who are peacefully campaigning for workers’ rights”.

Meanwhile, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Zanyar Moradi, Loqman Moradi, Sa’eid Shirzad, and Shaheen Zoqi Tabar are also on hunger strike at the same prison.

According to CHRI, the one-year sentence added to Shahabi’s current term stems from a conviction for his alleged part in the April 17, 2014, clash between guards and prisoners at Evin Prison that became known as Black Thursday.

“The verdict issued by the Revolutionary Court in the Black Thursday case was when special guard units attacked political prisoners in Ward 350,” Shahabi’s colleague had told CHRI at the time.