Campaign to Free Labour Activists in Iran

To:  The all trades unions, Progressive Parties and the Human Rights organisations

Iranian labour activists are sentenced to prison terms for organising an independent and peaceful May Day rally.

As you may be aware, a court in the city of Saghez, in the Iranian Kurdistan, has been dealing with the cases of seven labour activists accused of organising an independent May Day rally in the city in2004

 Finally, on Wednesday November 9, the verdicts of four of the accused workers were handed out by the judge. And the remaining three activists were informed of their sentences on November 12, 2005.  These verdicts have been delivered despite a mass international protest and condemnation by hundreds of trades unions, political parties and international institutions. The sentences of the labour activists are as follows:

1- Mr Mahmoud Salehi: 5 years imprisonment and  years in exile

2- Mr Jalal Husseini: 3 years imprisonment

3- Mr Borhan Divargar: 2 years imprisonment

4- Mr Mohsen Hakimi: 2 years imprisonment

5- Mr Mohammad Abdipour: 2 years imprisonment

6- Mr Hadi Tanomand: acquitted

7- Mr Ismail Khodkam: acquitted

 The crimes of these labour activists are attempts to celebrate the May Day and organising trade organisations independent of the government’s interference. Mr. Borhan Divargar is the Secretary of the “All Iran Organisation of the Unemployed Workers” and was recently freed from prison following an international campaign and is currently awaiting a decision on charges levelled against him on accounts of setting up an illegal organisation and membership of “Association for children rights”. 

 Celebrating the May Day is the most basic and recognised right of the workers in the world. We call on all the trades unions, humanitarian Parties and human rights organisations to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran and do whatever possible to have the charges against these workers removed. Please write to the Iranian government and the Iranian judiciary as well as your own respective governments and demand that the charges against the accused workers be dropped. Furthermore please do write to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and demand the expulsion of the Iranian government from the ILO.

 Respectfully yours
Khaled Hajmohammadi      

On behalf of the “Worker-communist Party of Iran-Hekmatist

0044 707485754

 Please send your letters to the following address with copies to Khaled Hajmohammadi

 Mr Juan Somvia

ILO Director-General

President of Iran:  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Email via the website

Head of Judiciary, Iran
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi or
mark:  forward to  Ayatollah Shahroudi


International Federation of Free Trade Unions strongly condemns the sentencing of Saghez
labour activists

Guy Ryder the General Secretary of ICFTU sends a strongly worded letter to the Iranian President protesting the heavy sentences handed out to the labour activist tried for organising a May Day Rally in the city of Saghez in 2004. 

In his letter to President Ahmadinejad, ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder said his organisation was “outraged at these sentences, which show that your government utterly disregards fundamental trade union rights”. He added that Iran’s failure to meet its international obligations towards the International Labour Organisation (ILO) “tarnishes its image abroad and undermines international trust” in its government. He also expressed the hope that the unionists’ innocence would be fully recognised during latter stages of the judicial process and that the ICFTU would be allowed to send its observers to future court hearings.

The ICFTU said it would now report the sentences to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association and increase the pressure on Iran’s government, with the support of its worldwide membership.

 For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department on +32 2 224 0210 or +32 477 580 486.