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Another Trade Union Leader Reportedly Detained In Iran


Saeed Torabian, a spokesman for Tehran's municipal bus service union, has reportedly been detained by the Iranian authorities, Radio Farda reports.

The municipal bus service union issued a statement saying Torabian was detained on June 9 and is being held on unknown charges in an unknown location.

Torabian is the third leader of the Tehran bus drivers' union, known as the Vahed Syndicate, now being held by Iran's judiciary. Mansur Osanlu, the union's president, and Ebrahim Madadi, a board member, are also currently in prison.

The General Secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), David Cockroft, wrote today to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad calling for Torabian's release. He wrote that "carrying out...normal trade union duties is not an arrestable offense."

Martin Mayer, the Chair of the ITF's Road Transport Section, expressed concern. "To find now that there has been a further arrest of people associated with this trade union shows that the state is still intent on escalating the suppression," Mayer told RFE/RL.

Mayer said that Iran has the second worst record in the world when it comes to treatment of labor unions; only Colombia is worse.

Last week, Iran arrested another union leader, Alireza Akhavan, who was active in the Defenders of Workers' Rights Association.

Akhavan had been urging workers to use the courts to seek redress with the government and private companies. He is currently being held in Tehran's Evin Prison.

The charges against Akhavan are still not known.
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