Friday, July 02, 2010

Iran: Trade unionists held incommunicado

Reza  Shahabi (left) © Marc Urata, Saeed Torabian (right)

Saeed Torabian (pictured right), from the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed), was arrested at his home on 9 June, by security officials who also confiscated his computer and mobile phone.

Reza Shahabi (pictured left), the Treasurer of the Union, was arrested on 12 June. When he arrived at work he was summoned to the headquarters of the Bus Company, where he was arrested by security officials. They took him to his house, which they searched, and confiscated his computer.

Amnesty International believes that both men are very likely to be prisoners of conscience, held solely on account of their peaceful trade union activities and is concerned that they are held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance.

Background information

The Union (or Syndicate) of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed) was banned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Workers resumed the Union's activities in 2004, although it is not legally recognized. On 22 December 2005, police arrested 12 of the Union's leaders at their homes but quickly released four of them. Other members were arrested on 25 December 2005 after they went on strike to call for the release of their colleagues. Saeed Torabian was among those arrested, and spent one month in custody. Hundreds more were arrested during a further strike in January 2006.

Two other members of the Union's board, Mansour Ossanlu and Ebrahim Maddadi, the Head and Deputy Head of the Union respectively, are currently serving prison sentences for their peaceful trade union activities.

Saeed Torabian and Reza Shahabi had been suspended from work, without pay, for about four years following the strikes in 2005. They were eventually reinstated after the Court of Administrative Justice investigated their case. This Court is empowered to investigate complaints against government employees.

Other trade unionists have been arrested or harassed recently, including members of local Teachers' Trade Associations, particularly in the run-up to International Labour Day on 1 May and National Teachers' day on 2 May 2010. Some of them were summoned by security officials, and some were detained for several hours, while the houses of others were searched, and some union meetings were broken up by the authorities.

The Iranian authorities refused permission for demonstrations to be held on the anniversary of the presidential election, and arrests of political activists, human rights defenders, students, trade unionists and others increased in the days and weeks before the anniversary. Some people defied a heavy security presence to demonstrate on the streets of Tehran. At least 91 people were arrested in connection with demonstrations, according to the Tehran Police Commander.

Protests at the disputed outcome of the 2009 election were violently repressed, with scores killed. Thousands were arrested, many of whom were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, often to obtain forced "confessions". Hundreds have been tried unfairly, including in mass "show trials", many of whom are serving long-prison terms, often as prisoners of conscience. Some have been sentenced to death, and two executed.

Iran is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 22 (1) of which states: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests," and to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 8 of which guarantees the "right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice".

Send the email below the Iranian authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Saeed Torabian and Reza Shahabi and release them if they are held solely for their peaceful trade union activities.

If you have more time, you can also copy and paste the message below onto the website of Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary.

In the first starred box: write your first name
In the second starred box: Write your family name
In the third starred box: Write your email address

Special report on kidnapping and torture of Mansour Osnaloo's
daughter-in-law by agents of Intelligence Ministry

Parvaneh Osanloo: "Because of agents' assaults my daughter-in-law Suffered

According to reports received by “Human Rights and Democracy activists of
Iran Roya Samadi, daughter-in-law of Mansour Osanloo, president of the
board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus
Company, was kidnapped and savagely tortured by three agents of
Intelligence Ministry.

On Wednesday 2nd of Tir (June 23, 2010) Ms. Samadi, while going home from
work around 5:30PM, was attacked by three men as soon as she got off the
metro train in Karaj. The agents grabbed her by hair and while pulling her
by her hair were kicking and punching her. All of this in broad day light
in front of all other shocked commuters. Ms. Samadi while crying for help
kept repeating that she's Mr. Osanloo's daughter-in-law. The agents put a
tape over her mouth as to silence her pleas, and kidnapped her to an
undisclosed location.

At the undisclosed location she was put inside a cell, cuffed at hands and
feet, with her eyes also covered, and was savagely tortured for a long
while. The blows were concentrated on her face and head. Her head was
repeatedly hit against the wall. Scars from the beating are evident all
over her body. Her gums are torn, teeth broken, swelling of head, wound on
her arms and the right foot, and bruises all over her body.

While being tortured the agents kept shouting at: “You have to promise to
us if Osanloo is freed from jail, he can't stay here, and should not do a

After hours of savage torture, beating and abuse around 9:45 PM, the
agents left her shocked body under Sayed Khandan Bridge, and left her.
They also emphasized to her that she shouldn't complain about this to
anyone, and if she does she'll face the consequences.

Although almost 24 hours has passed Ms. Zoya Samadi is still in shock and
has not recovered.

For some months now she has been intimated by phone calls from
Intelligence Ministry interrogators, she was once even ordered to show up
at the 14th District “Islamic Revolutionary” ( read reactionary) Court.
When the family showed up in the court they were told that such orders had
never been issued. She was also beaten up last year and they attempted to
kidnap her back then.

The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) strongly
condemns the kidnapping and torture of Zoya Samadi, the daughter-in-law
of Mansour Osanloo. This is a serious criminal act ordered by the Islamic
Republic of Iran, which has caused irreversible harm to Mrs. Samadi
including the miscarriage of her fetus and physical and emotional damages.
All those responsible for this inhuman action including their bosses must
be put on trial for the most gruesome violation of human rights and

On Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 at around 5:30pm Zoya Samadi, Mansour
Osanloo’s (Head of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburbs Bus
Company) daughter in law was leaving work to go home. Samadi was brutally
accosted by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence at the Tarasht metro
station when she stepped out of the metro momentarily in order to allow
other passengers to leave the metro.

The Intelligence Ministry agents in plain sight of all those present,
pulled off Ms. Samadi’s headscarf from her head and proceeded to beat her
and drag her by the hair.

After arresting Samadi, she was taken to an undisclosed location for four
hours. While being tortured, the agents told her” You must guarantee that
if Osanloo is released from prison, he will never remain in Iran and that
he will cease all activities.” It is worth mentioning that in the past
few days reports were released alluding to a pardon for Mansour Osanloo
and his imminent release from jail. We spoke to Parvaneh Osanloo, Mr.
Osanloo’s wife, regarding the possible news of her husband’s release from
jail and the recent arrest of her daughter in law. The content of our
conversation is as follows:

Mrs. Osanloo describes her daughter in law Zoya Samadi’s arrest as
follows:” On Wednesday afternoon when Zoya was returning home from work,
she was attacked by Intelligence Ministry agents at the Tarasht metro
station. They began beating her from the moment she was arrested. She was
handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to an undisclosed location.”

While being arrested, Samadi tried to cry out for help. Her cries were
however in vain as the agents proceeded with great speed and did not allow
anyone to intervene. They then transferred her to a location she is unable
to identify as a result of her blindfolds.

Parvaneh Osanloo made the following statement regarding Samadi’s current
condition” The extent of Ms. Samadi’s brutal beatings is clearly
evident by the marks on her body today. She is currently in a state of
shock. Nose bleeding, nausea, and a severe back pain are only some of the
complications she is suffering due to this severe and brutal beating.”

Osanloo continued: ” I have no idea why they did such a thing. My
daughter in law has done nothing wrong and the fact that Mr. Osanloo is in
prison has nothing to do with her. My husband saw Zoya only one time on
the night of her engagement to our son. I am ashamed and humiliated in
front of my daughter in law and her family. What has she done to deserve
to be treated this way? They arrested her and continuously beat her for
three to four hours. They then let left her injured under Seyed Khandan

Upon finding out about this incident, the Osanloo family rushed to Zoya
Samadi’s help and transferred her to a hospital where she was treated
overnight. The intelligence agents warned her ” You are not to inform
anyone about this incident, nor are you allowed to file any form of

In reference to this demand, Osanloo’s wife said ” What kind of behavior
is this? Why are they not asking Mr. Osanloo himself for guarantees to
leave the country and to cease all his activities? How can his daughter in
law give any guarantees on his behalf ? Mr. Osanloo is fully aware of what
he must and must not do. They think that by putting pressure on my
husband, he will change into someone else. He has already endured extreme
hardship under the worst of circumstances. Why won’t they leave his family

“They removed the headscarf of an innocent woman who is a stranger to them
[referencing Islamic rule that women should cover their hair in the
company of those that are not a member of their family] and wrapped it
around her neck to suffocate her. They threatened her that if she says a
word they will kill her and much more. Is this Islam? Is this the rule of
the law? Does our country not have any laws? Who are these individuals?
Where do they come from? How do they dare commit such crimes in broad

It is worth mentioning, that a few days ago, the International Labor
Organization, ILO in its annual report on the Iranian Judiciary, announced
that the Islamic Republic had agreed to pardon Mansour Osanloo the
imprisoned head of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburbs Bus

The news by the ILO led to the kidnapping and torture of Osanloo’s
daughter in law. Parvaneh Osanloo’s remarks regarding this matter were as
follows: ” We had heard about this news. However, neither we nor Mr.
Osanloo have been informed directly. The only thing they have done so far
is inform my daughter in law that they plan to release my husband and if
they do she must promise that he will leave Iran and cease all his

She continued: “The activities of Mr. Osanloo are nobody’s business. What
kind of freedom is this? What is the value of a freedom associated with
these types of threats and behavior? If this is the case, then we don’t
want him to be freed. This is not freedom. This is yet another form of
imprisonment. Why should we have to leave our country by force? Even
though we are deprived of all security, Iran is still our country. We
feel a sense of insecurity and threat to our lives, even when we leave the
house just to go shopping.”

Mansour Osanloo is enduring his fourth year in the section 3, ward 8 at
Rajai Shahr prison. Parvaneh Osanloo added “We have endured four years.
When Mr. Osanloo was told of this incident he was deeply affected. He has
a five year sentence, with only one year remaining. We don’t want this
type of freedom. This is not freedom. If need be, we will wait one more
year until he is freed from prison. They have brought so much pain to our
family. We have compliantly endured all of it without a word. Is that not
enough? They imprisoned him. They fired him from his job. How much
injustice can they throw at one person? In this country, does anyone else
other than them[referencing the current government of Iran] have any

In closing, Parvaneh Osanloo called upon all Human Rights Organizations to
support the “defenseless” Osanloo family and said “I call upon all
International Human Rights Organizations and anyone who cares for innocent
people and their basic human rights to do whatever is in their power to
help us out. We are defenseless here. They have damaged our family and
continue to do so.”

Mansour Osanloo, the head of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran & Suburbs
Bus Company, was first arrested in January 2006 when he spent 8 months in
jail. He was once again arrested in November 2006 and released a month
later on bail. In the summer of 2007 Osanloo attended an annual meeting of
the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in London where he
was also a speaker. He was arrested for the 3rd time on 10 July 2007 when
he returned back to Iran. At the time of his arrest he was attacked by
Intelligence Ministry agents on the street and first taken to Evin prison.
Osanloo was later transferred to Rajai Shahr prison where he still

Source: Street Journalist

Parvaneh Osanloo: "Because of agents' assaults daughter-in-law Suffered

Harana news agency-Osanloo’s family is seeking official investigation and
prosecution regarding the savage incarceration and torture of their young
daughter-in-law. Mrs. Osanloo while announcing their demand for legal
action, also added: “My daughter-in-law was two months pregnant, and none
of us knew about the pregnancy. Since the attack she's been bleeding
profusely, while seeking medical attention, we all realized she had been
pregnant; unfortunately she had miscarried the fetus.

Parvaneh Osanloo also told “Roozonline”, “The incident for our
daughter-in-law was an alarm bell for all of us. I ask all human rights
organizations to help and prevent such actions from occurring in any part
of the world, and hereby I declare that if lives of our family members are
endangered or if anything happens to any of us officials of the judiciary
and Islamic Republic are the be held responsible.”

Mansour Osanloo chairperson of Tehran Bus-drivers' Syndicate, is a
renowned labour activist, he's been sentenced to five years of prison
based on security charges.

And now while Mr. Osanloo is spending his fourth year in incarceration,
according to his family, his young daughter-in-law was arrested and taken
to an undisclosed location, and repeatedly beaten up. After threatening
not to reveal anything about the attack they left her under Sayed Khandan

While Judiciary and security officials have been silent about this case,
and have refused any explanation, Parvaneh Osanloo in a dialogue with “
Roozonline” described her daughter-in-laws physical and emotional
condition, and declared that her family lacks any protection and if
anything happens to any of them, officials of Islamic Republic are to be
held responsible.

Osanloo’s Daughter-In-Law Suffered Miscarriage after Officers’ Attack
(Parvaneh Osanloo’s interview with roozonline)

Rooz: Why do you think your daughter-in-law was targeted?

Parvaneh Osanloo (Osanloo): They just want to intimidate and terrorize our
family. They want to put Mr. Osanloo under pressure.

Rooz: Mr. Osanloo is already behind bars, why should be he pressured more?

Osanloo: The gentlemen should answer that question. They are so scared of
Mansour, who has been behind bars for the past four years, which they
treat his family members like this, even though he has been paying the
price for his labour activism.

Rooz: Do you know which organ or agency was responsible for this incident?

Osanloo: No, they blindfolded her. She doesn’t know where she was taken
and we don’t know who took her.

Rooz: What specific demand did they have of Mrs. Zoya Samadi?

Osanloo: They asked her to sign a statement guaranteeing that Mr. Osanloo
would not continue his activism after his release and would leave the
country with his family!

Rooz: How is Mrs. Samadi dealing with this physically and emotionally?

Osanloo: Unfortunately she has been hurt a lot. She’s still in shock. She
hasn’t regained her mental composure yet. Aside from bleeding from the
nose and the mouth, and injuries to her mouth, my daughter-in-law was two
months pregnant and we didn’t know. After the attack she was bleeding
heavily, and when we looked into it, it turned out that she was two months
pregnant. Unfortunately she suffered a miscarriage.


Sample protest letter (Updated June 27, 2010)

Please use all or any part of this sample protest letter

Support campaign for freedom of labour activists!

Free Tehran Bus Workers' Leaders Now!

Free all jailed labour activists now!

I (we) am (are) writing this to demand an immediate freedom of all
imprisoned representatives and members of the Syndicate of Workers of
Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and all other labour activists currently
incarcerated in different prisons in Iran.

I (we) also strongly denounce the kidnapping and torture of Mr. Mansour
Osanloo’s daughter-in-law. As the result of this gruesome act, Ms. Zoya
Samadi suffered a miscarriage as she was pregnant at the time.

As of this time, four leaders and elected representatives of Vahed
Syndicate are in prison. Mansour Osanloo, Syndicate's president of the
board of directors (serving five year jail sentence since 2007, Ebrahim
Madadi, Vice-President (serving 3.5 year jail sentence since late 2007);
Saeed Torabian, Public Relations director (arrested and detained since
June 9, 2010, and Reza Shahabi, Treasurer (arrested on June 12, 2010).

Mr. Osanloo has been subject to harassment and threats of new charges by
prison officials. While in prison, Mr. Osanloo has recently been
interrogated and accused of relationship with opposition groups as well
as insulting leaders of the Islamic Republic. These allegations have been
denied by Osanloo.

In addition, there are many other labour activists in prisons and
persecuted. Asad Moloudzadeh, Behnam Alizadeh, Mehdi Farahi Shandiz,
Alireza Akhavan and Pejman Rahimi, all labour activists, have been
arrested and charged or jailed for their labour activities in recent

I (we) demands immediate and unconditional freedom of all these labour
activists. I (we) condemn this new round of attack against Tehran bus
workers' union and the continuous gross attacks on human and workers’
rights in Iran.




Send your protest letters to:,,;;,,,;;

Send Copy of your Protest Letters to:


International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI); or

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