A campaign to save the life of an Iranian teacher, Abdolreza Ghanbari, initiated by the Committee for the Defence of Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has brought international pressure to bear upon the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Abdolreza Ghanbari is awaiting execution after his final appeal against his sentence was rejected.
Ghanbari, was arrested at his workplace after anti-government demonstrations took place on 27th December 2009 to mark the Ashoura religious commemorations. Held in Evin Prison since his arrest, Ghanbari was tortured, ill-treated and denied access to a lawyer. Ghanbari was tried unfairly before Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court on 30th January 2010 and sentenced to death for ‘moharebeh’ (enmity against God) for alleged links with the banned opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The sentence was upheld on appeal, and his request for a pardon from the Amnesty and Clemency Commission was rejected at the end of February 2012.
The campaign launched by CODIR on the 5th March 2012 has won the backing of many human rights and trade union organisations including Amnesty International, Labour Start, UNISON, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU) in the UK, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and the global union, Education International.
CODIR Assistant General Secretary, Jamshid Ahmadi, has been encouraged by the response to the campaign so far but has urged more trades union and human rights groups urgently to back the campaign.
“This case once again shows the Islamic Republic’s contempt for the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, he said. “We urge human rights, labour and trade union organisations around the world to step up the pressure and to continue to write to the Iranian government expressing their outrage at these arrests and demand to stop the execution of Mr. Ghanbari. This is now a desperate situation. We can’t stop our campaign until a stay of execution is secured. ”
Alex Gordon, National President of RMT, Britain’s largest specialist transport union and honorary President of CODIR said:
“The global campaign launched by CODIR for freedom of Abdolreza Ghanbari and an end to persecution and oppression of trade unionists by the Iranian regime has attracted massive worldwide support.
“The eyes of trade unionists are on Iran. CODIR will ensure that the campaign for workers’ rights, peace and the right for the Iranian people to determine their own future free from state oppression or foreign interference continues to gain support.”
The demands of teachers and other trades unionists around the world have focussed upon urging the Iranian authorities to:-
– Stay the execution of Prof. Abdolreza Ghanbari and revoke the death sentence;
– Drop all charges against all detained trade unionists and release them immediately;
– Compensate the individuals for the damages suffered as result of detentions;
– Register the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) and allow it to hold trade union activities and reach out to members;
– Stop the harassment and repression against teachers, unionists and human rights defenders;
– Comply with the international labour standards and respect the rights of Iranian workers to freedom of association, assembly and expression;
– Engage in a peaceful dialogue regarding the professional concerns of teachers in Iran.
CODIR is urging organisations to write to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to outline these demands and most urgently address the question of the fate of Abdolreza Ghanbari.
CODIR has worked closely with the trades union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.
In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.