From the TUC

ACT NOW! Freedom for Iranian teacher union leader Esmail Abdi

21 Nov 2016, By

The international trade union movement continues to deplore the actions of the Iranian government in its heavy handed stance of imprisoning trade unionists on unjust, trumped up charges. One such case is of Mr. Esmail Abdi, a leader of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association, who has been sentenced to a six-year jail term on bogus charges, including one for “assembling and colluding against national security.” These charges are totally unfair and tantamount to human rights abuses including those protecting freedom of expression and association, as well as the right of unions to be consulted on education policies.

Mr Abdi along with three other Iranian teacher unionists, had already been unfairly detained in June 2015 to prevent them from attending the 7th World Congress of Education International (EI) in Ottawa, Canada. A hunger strike by Mr Abdi and massive solidarity campaigns in Iran and from unions across the world resulted in Mr. Abdi’s release in May 2016. However, on 7 October, the Appeal Court of Tehran re-sentenced Mr Abdi to an unwarranted six-year jail sentence. His only real crime is his work as an advocate for teachers and for education. Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen has firmly condemned the action:

“The Iranian authorities are attempting to silence teachers’ grievances through repression and the extended incarceration of unionists and activists.”

EI has asked us once again to flood the inboxes of the Tehran government with messages of protest demanding his release via a Labour Start action. In solidarity, please take a moment and lend your support to the worldwide campaign.

The imprisonment of Esmail Abdi by the Iranian authorities is by no means an isolated case. Iran is notorious for the heavy handed stance it takes towards trade unionists and activists striving for freedom of expression and association and equality and human rights. This year Iran featured in the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index as one of the ten worst countries in the world for working people because of the increased repression of free speech and their workers’ rights.

Please lend your support to EI’s Labour Start online campaign, calling on the Iranian government to drop the bogus charges against Mr Abdi and release him immediately!