Accessibility links

Breaking News

Concern Grows Over Detained Iranian Labor Unionist

Concern over detained Iranian labor unionist Reza Shahabi is growing as his family has not heard from him since late June, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Alireza Navaei of the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran told Radio Farda on August 10 that "Shahabi's family has repeatedly inquired about him at the Tehran's prosecutor's office, but to no avail. Even his lawyer cannot find out how he is doing."

Shahabi, a board member of the Tehran Bus Workers' Union, was arrested by security officials on June 12, the anniversary of last year's disputed presidential election. He is being held in section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison, which is run by the Intelligence Ministry.

Navaei added that since political prisoners in Iran, including labor union activists, have been subject to persecution and torture in jail, Shahabi is also at risk.

Navaei told RFE/RL that Shahabi played a key role in reinstating a number of Tehran bus workers after they were dismissed or suspended following a strike in 2005.

Britain's National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers recently launched a campaign demanding the Iranian government to release Shahabi.

The Tehran Bus Workers' Union, which was dissolved after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, was revived five years ago.

Since then its more than 17,000 members have faced arrest, threats, and dismissal from work. Many members have also claimed that they have been deprived of many of their social and medical rights.

Iranian officials have also imprisoned bus union leaders Ebrahim Madadi and Mansur Osanlu, who is serving a five-year term. Union spokesman Said Torabian was released from jail on bail on July 20.

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More