The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) is calling for pressure to be placed upon the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the case of Abdolreza Ghanbari, a school teacher and university professor of Persian literature, who has been sentenced to death.
Mr. Ghanbari was arrested on the 27th December 2009 following demonstrations against the regime in which he did not even take part. His wife, daughter and witnesses have made it clear that Mr. Ghanbari was at home during the time of the demonstrations but they have been denied the chance to present their evidence, as Mr. Ghanbari was sentenced by Tehran’s revolutionary court charged with “waging war against God.”
A request for pardon made to the Commission of Justice in Tehran was rejected this week meaning that the path is now clear for the state to proceed with Abdolreza Ghanbari’s execution.
Mr. Ghanbari has been incarcerated in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran where he was beaten, interrogated and forcibly made to confess to unproven charges against himself. The Iranian regime has accused Mr. Ghanbari of possessing suspicious e-mail, having had contacts with outside TV stations, and colluding with forces hostile to the regime.
Abdolreza Ghanbari has no known political connections. He was previously involved in teachers’ trade union activities until the union was eventually dissolved in 2007. Other than this, Mr. Ghanbari is known only for his teaching and cultural activities, trying not to do anything that may warrant the attention of the authorities.
The case of Abdolreza Ghanbari is one of many that particularly involve teachers in Iran.
Just recently, in an open letter to the Tehran Attorney on March the 2nd, the Teachers Trade Association of Iran described the situation of one of its incarcerated members, Rasoul Bodaghi, pointed out the conditions of other imprisoned teachers, and demanded their temporary release in time for the Iranian New Year (March 21st).
Rasoul Bodaghi, is an Education Management professional, a Social Sciences teacher, and a board member of the Teachers Trade Association. He was arrested on 1st of September, 2009, and after 10 months was finally tried, charged with action against the national security. On August 3rd of 2010 he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment and banned for five years from social and cultural activities. He has been in prison now for two and a half years without even some time off to attend his mother’s funeral. Mr. Bodaghi is married with three daughters, two of them under 6 years old. After his detention, his pay was also stopped and later he was fired from his job.
In May of 2011, Mr. Bodaghi went on hunger strike, during which he was transferred to solitary confinement in Gohardasht prison. His demands were:
* Full implementation of prisons’ statute, including visits, access to phone and the right to furlough
* Ending any and all forms of pressure on the families of political prisoners
* Immediate improvement of prisoners’ welfare and conditions
The Teachers Trade Association has also drawn attention to the cases of other teachers including Ali Pour-Soleymani, Mohamad Davari and Abdullah Momeni all of whom are serving time in prison under harsh conditions.
Assistant General Secretary of CODIR Jamshid Ahmadi has said that the solidarity organisation is appalled at the treatment of detained teachers in Iran.
“The cases of Abdolreza Ghanbari and Rasoul Bodaghi in particular are a clear example of the Iranian regime’s lack of tolerance of the intellectuals in its society and its failure to address even basic human rights. These cases once again show the Islamic Republic’s contempt for the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We urge human rights, labour and trade union organisations around the world to write to the Iranian government expressing their outrage at these arrests and the demand to stop the execution of Mr. Ghanbari.”
Alex Gordon, national president of the UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT) and honorary president of CODIR, said:
“We demand the immediate release of Mr. Abdolreza Ghanbari into the safety of his family. Yet again the Iranian regime has demonstrated its contempt for the rights of workers to organise freely and independently in trade unions and its appalling record of victimising innocent trade unionists in violation of International Labour Organisation conventions and internationally recognised standards. Abdolreza Ghanbari and Rasoul Bodaghi will not be forgotten victims of a vicious, anti-worker regime. Their names and the struggle for their freedom will be an inspiration to those who support the rights and freedoms of Iranian workers all over the world.”
PLEASE SEND APPEALS immediately and before 15th March 2012 to:
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar-Doust Street,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: “Call on #Iran leader @khamenei_ir to halt the execution of Abdolreza Ghanbari” Salutation: Your Excellency
For further places to direct appeals, see CODIR’s website.