In a statement from Rajaee Shahr prison, Reza Shahabi thanked all workers, individuals and labour and concerned human rights organizations in Iran and around the world for their support and solidarity. Below is the English translation of Reza Shahabi’s statement.
Reza Shahabi’s message form Rajaee Shahr prison
With warmest greetings,
I would like to take this moment to express my utmost gratitude and thanks to all the workers, Syndicate members, students, social activists, all the families and liberated individuals who have protested against my unjust incarceration and the unjust imprisonment of all other labour activists. I would also like to sincerely thank all the international workers’ organizations from throughout the world who have sent messages of protest to the (Iranian) government authorities and have demanded my unconditional release, and unconditional freedom of all other workers who are unjustly incarcerated.
The persecution of me and my family since 2010, when the plainclothes agents arrested me on the phony charge of armed robbery, while I was on the job driving a bus, has not stopped for a moment.
I spent 19 months in solitary confinement at Ward No. 209 of Evin Prison under long interrogation and the most severe physical, mental and psychological assaults, and several times I was threatened with execution.
In these years, I have had many surgeries and medical treatments and I have been forced to resort to weeks' long hunger strike, just to make sure my voice is heard. Why? Why should a worker who is only defending his most basic rights and the most basic rights of his coworkers be subjected to so much harm and abuse, endangering his health and wellbeing and that of his family? They had thought that through such repressive actions and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation they could intimidate and silence the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and other independent workers’ organizations. But this never happened and will not materialize. As long as workers are subjected to exploitation and vicious repression, as long as workers’ rights are unabashedly violated, while the capitalists, embezzlers and the wealthy looters are protected, there will be workers’ organizations, protests and strikes.
My situation is still unclear, and despite the promises made by the authorities to end this situation, I am still being held in imprisonment without appropriate medical care. The support of my reverent cell-mates, my dear family, my great wife and my toiling co-workers at Vahed workers’ syndicate, as well as the support of workers and defenders of workers’ and human rights in Iran and internationally, will be the only guarantor of my freedom and the freedom of my incarcerated colleagues.
Reza Shahabi, Rajaee Shahr prison- Karaj
October 18, 2017 (Mehr 26, 1396)
Translated by IASWI
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI) November 5, 2017