May Day in Iran

Not a happy occasion:

[O]n April 12, 2008 Said Torabian, another member of this union, was transferred to Security Court Number 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to “furnish some explanation” about the Payk-e Sandika newsletter, the internal publication of this labor union. In a related incident, Abbas Nazhandkudaki and Davud Razavi were also summoned to court.

Similarly, at the beginning of this month, 140 Alborz Tire Factory workers were attacked at a protest and arrested by riot police. They were, as usual, released after signing a promissory statement and a reminder that they should not make any appearances on May Day. What was remarkable in these arrests was that during the protest, security officials asked two fire fighter units to spray people with boiling hot water in order to disperse them, however, the fire fighters refused and were subsequently arrested.

Another arrest that took place in Iran right before May Day was the arrest of Sheys Amani on April 16, 2008. Amani was one of the founders of the Unemployed Workers Union and the head of its board of directors. Before this, the court of the city of Sanandaj in Kordestan province sentenced Amani and labor activist Seddiq Karimi to a two-and-a-half-year sentence for campaigning for worker’s rights in Kordestan province in 2007 on May Day, but after another hearing, this sentence was reduced to six months.

Other people arrested in Sanandaj, Kordestan, were Seddiq Karimi, Seddiq Amjadi, Seddiq Sobhani, Eqbal Latifi, Yadollah Moradi, Najmoddin Rajabi, Faruq Goyli, Anvar Mafakheri, Habibollah Kalkani, Mohiyoddin Rajabi, Teyyeb Takani, and Khaled Takani.

In another case, Bakhtiar Rahimi, a member of the coordination committee for forming a worker’s association, was arrested in Marivan, in the Khordestan province of Iran, and imprisoned after an armed raid on his house on July 28, 2007. Some nine months after his arrest, Rahimi is still incarcerated and in solitary confinement in Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin Prison.