Iranian labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh in fatal condition, International Community Still Silent
By Kaveh Taheri
June 27, Tehran: Jafar Azimzadeh, 50, whose condition has severely deteriorated over the past two months became unconscious for few hours due to the hunger strike at the Sina Hospital in Tehran on Monday morning.
“I will do nothing for JafarAzimzadeh even if he dies”, Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said after accepting to meet the wife of JafarAzimzadeh.
The labor activist contracted a severe pain in his stomach, and he is in the serious risk of intestine failure, his relatives said.
JafarAzimzadeh, the labor activist and Chairman of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, started a hunger strike on April 30, 2016 for his basic rights such as removing the charges of “associating and colluding with intent to act against national security” from the open files of protesting workers and teachers and imprisoned activists and an end to treating social and civil protests as security issues.
Before being transferred to Sina hospital, he was being held at Ward 8 of Evin prison amongst criminals imprisoned for serious offenses such as pirates, thieves, embezzlement, fraud and forgery.
Jafar wrote in his letter that “we protested to wages under the line of poverty, the ban on holdingan independent and free celebration to mark International Workers’ Day and Teachers’ Day. The release of Esmail Abdi can’t be used as a claim of addressing our demands and that of millions of workers and teachers, therefore, with a large appreciation for the support Iran’s teachers and workers and labor, I will continue my indefinite hunger strike that I began on April 30.
“The five-page ruling by Branch 15 of the Revolution Court is based on the following instances: the building of the Free Union of Workers of Iran, the National Union of Unemployed Workers and the Committee to Follow Up the Formation of Free Labor Organizations; taking part in the International Workers’ Day rally in Laleh Park in 2009, leading workers in the 2005 protests, organizing, planning and managing workers’ gatherings under the current government and threatening to call rallies and strikes in March 2013, collecting 40,000 workers’ signatures for a petition and leading the rallies outside the National Assembly and the Labor Ministry, threatening the Labor Ministry in a letter to the Labor Minister to hold a rally on this year’s International Workers’ Day outside the Labor Ministry in protest at the announced [level of the] minimum wage, lodging a complaint, on behalf of 1,000 workers, against Saeed Mortazavi and others who have plundered the Social Welfare Fund to the tune of 3,000 billion Toman, protest at even worse anti-labor amendments in the Labor Law, meeting with other independent workers’ organizations, such as the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs United Bus Company, Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Workers Union, the Co-ordinating
Committee to Form Free Labor Organizations, the Committee to Follow Up the Formation of Free Labor Organizations and giving interviews to the website of the Free Union of Workers of Iran and a number of international news media”, Maryam Namazie stated.
He was sentenced to six years in prison and a two years ban of membership in parties and cyber activities for vague charges of "assembly and collusion against national security", "disturbing public order" and "propaganda against the regime of Iran" at Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, chaired by Judge AbolghasemSalavati.
JafarAzimzadeh, is one of the coordinators of the 40,000 signature campaign for the increase of the minimum-wage, was arrested along with ShapoorEhsani Rad, a board member of the Free Union of Iranian Workers, for protesting discrimination against workers.
Mr. Azimzadeh was summoned to Evin to begin serving a six-year prison-term in October of 2015 and taken to Ward 8, human rights activists declared.
He was sent to serve six years in prison, only for coordinating 40,000 signature campaign for the increase of the minimum-wage; with the slogan of “We want BREAD”.
Previously, Mr. Azimzadeh was allegedly detained and went to Branch 1 of Saveh Revolutionary Court following Mr. EhsaniRad's arrest in a raid by officials at his house. Azimzadeh was arrested for alleged news publications on the union website.
The Oslo Times International News Network