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Day Of Action To Free Iranian Labor Activists Planned

Mahmud Salehi has a history of arrests for his labor activism (file photo) (RFE/RL) August 7, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Trade unions are planning a day of action in support of two jailed labor activists in Iran, Radio Farda reported.

The head of the Tehran bus drivers' union, Mansur Osanlu, was detained on July 10, while labor activist Mahmud Salehi was detained on April 9 in Iran's western Kurdistan Province.

The director of human and trade-union rights at the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Janek Kuczkiewicz, today told Radio Farda that the group is calling on its affiliates worldwide to protest on August 9 against the activists' detentions. Kuczkiewicz said the union affiliates will demonstrate in front of the Iranian embassies in their countries, request meetings with Iranian diplomats, and hand in letters of protest.

Kuczkiewicz said his group is "extremely worried" about the health of both detainees. He said that both Osanlu and Salehi have "serious medical conditions" and are "deprived of any sort of contact with their lawyers and with their families."

Kuczkiewicz called on the Iranian government to produce concrete evidence that both men are in good health and have access to legal defense.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has said Osanlu's imprisonment was the latest step in a two-year government campaign against him and his union. The London-based organization says union meetings have been "brutally" broken up, and Osanlu and his supporters have been repeatedly jailed and beaten.

Amnesty International Joins Call

Amnesty International issued a statement today in which it says it "joins voices with the ITUC [International Trade Union Confederation] and ITF in calling for [Osanlu and Salehi] to be released immediately and for any charges that have been leveled against them in connection with their peaceful and legitimate trades union work to be dropped."

Amnesty International called the two labor activists' work "testimony to the engagement of trades unionists in reaching beyond discriminatory practices, for the benefit of workers and for all of Iran, and above all, for the advancement of human rights in Iran."

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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