ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Five French trade unions, in an open letter addressed to Iran's supreme leader, demanded the release of all jailed teacher’s guilds activists, highlighting that one is currently being denied medical attention.
“The imprisonment of Mohammad Habibi is a violation of human rights and the fundamental freedoms of unions, and on this basis, we want his immediate release,” the letter read, referring to a member the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran, who is being denied proper medical treatment, according to a VOA report.
Habibi was arrested in March and, a month later, released on a USD 60,000 bail. In August, he was handed a ten and a half year sentence in prison on charges of “collusion against national security… propaganda against the regime,” and “disrupting public order.”
The judgment also included a two-year travel ban, two more years prohibiting him for participating in any union or political activities, and 74 lashes.
Human rights organizations, notably the International Education Organization and the British Teachers’ Union, have widely denounced the Islamic Republic’s increased crackdown on rights and union activists, calling on Tehran to immediately free such individuals, especially those who have been documented to be under harsh treatment in captivity.
The French letter added, “because of the violation of these rights, we urgently and unconditionally demand the release of all male and female activists, including Ismail Abdi and Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, all of whom are detained teachers whose only activities comprise of Syndicate work and defending the legal rights of wage earners.”
The French unions have also sent a copy of their letter to President Hassan Rouhani, the Chief Justice of Iran, Sadegh Larijani, and the Iranian ambassador to France.
On Tehran’s continued antagonistic behavior toward its citizens, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), recently said, “Iranian authorities continue to dig a hole for their domestic and international credibility as they lock up scores of lawyers and activists for the ‘crime’ of defending citizens’ fundamental rights.”
“At a time when everyday life is increasingly difficult for millions of Iranians, rights advocates should be an essential part of solving collective problems, instead of a primary target of the government’s crackdown,” Sarah added.
Editing by Nadia Riva