TUC joins May Day protests for jailed Iranian teachers
The TUC has supported a letter this 1 May calling on the Iranian government to release two Iranian teacher union leaders and scores of other jailed trade unionists as part of a general call “to adopt a stance compatible with its international obligations in respect of trade unions and human rights. Until this is the case, international public opinion cannot trust that the Iranian government truly wishes to come in from the cold.” Other signatories include the ETUC, IndustriALL and the International Federation of Journalists, the NASUWT and NUT and several other unions.
The two teachers in jail are:
- Ismail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) facing 16 years imprisonment; and
- Mahmoud Beheshti, a leading member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA).
Ismail has been accorded the status of prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, who started an international solidarity action on Friday. We have been calling for his release since last August: he was arrested on 27 June after he went to the Prosecutor’s Office at Evin Prison to inquire about the travel ban placed on him. He had been prevented from travelling to Armenia to apply for a visa to attend the 7th Education International World Congress in Ottawa, Canada in July 2015 (Education International is the global teachers’ trade union to which several British education unions belong.)
Amnesty International is urging supporters – and we agree, please take this action –
Calling on the Iranian authorities to release Ismail Abdi immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for his peaceful trade union activities, and to ensure his conviction and sentence are quashed;
Reminding them that Iran has ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which place an obligation on Iran to respect and protect the right of everyone to form and join trade unions for the protection of their interests.