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A week in solidarity with Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

 Attack on freedom of expression from Paris to Tehran

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Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, labour activist, has been given more than 14 years jail sentence for defending the rights of workers and expressing his view

 In France the Islamist attacks and executes the Charlie Hebdo editorial team for expressing their views through satire; In Iran the Islamic regime imprisons, tortures and executes dissidents for expressing their political and social views. The similarities are hard to ignore.

A week in solidarity with Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

12 -18 January 2015

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is a labour’s and children’s rights activist. He was arrested in June 2010 in Tehran and was already serving 4th years of his 5 years sentenced when He was tried again on 29th December 2014, in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. His lawyer was not allowed to attend the trial. Behnam was sentenced to another 9 and a half years in prison . He has continuously been under physical and psychological torture while Behnam’s only child is undergoing treatment for Leukaemia (Blood Cancer). Behnam suffers from various ailments such as kidney pain, bleeding gums, neck and back injuries due to extended periods of torture followed by no medical intervention. In the following letter written by Behnam, he asks all human rights organizations and freedom loving to support him, to be his voice and the voice of other prisoners of conscience.

We call on all labour and human rights organizations and concerned individuals to join us on the solidarity week with Behnam.

You can join and support in any way possible including the following:

Ways to help:

SIGN PETITION:   http://chn.ge/1xr3BZD

TWEET USING: #FreeBehnam and join our Tweet storm on Friday 16 January ( time  will be announced)

Sample Tweet:

@eu_eeas @UN @ILOACTRIV #IRAN #FreeBehnam Ebrahimzadeh Jailed #Labour Activist SIGN http://chn.ge/1xr3BZD READ http://bit.ly/1HZt68I

WRITE TO:

International Labour Organization Bureau for Workers’ Activities(ILOACTRIV)

Ms. Maria Helena ANDRE, Director

andremh@ilo.org , actrav@ilo.org 

SAMPLE LETTER (it takes only a minute to copy & send the following letter )

TO:  The director of the ILO- Bureau for Workers’ Activities(ILOACTRIV)

Dear Ms. Maria Helena Andre

I express my strongest protest against the imprisonment and the jail sentence of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, the jailed labour’s activist in Iran. The authorities in Iran must be put under pressure to release Behnam Ebrahimzadeh immediately and unconditionally.

I am the voice of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

Name. . . . . . . .

City/country . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and Free Behnam campaign:

#FreeBehnam campaign has been initiated by the following three organisations in January 2015. For more information please contact the organisations’ website and their spokespersons.

Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI)

www.iranpoliticalprisoners.com

Spokesperson: Shiva Mahbobi

shiva.mahbobi@gmail.com, 0044 0 757235 6661

 

Free Them Now (Campaign to free jailed workers in IRAN)

www.free-them-now.com

Spokesperson: Shahla Daneshfar

shahla_daneshfar@yahoo.com   , 0044 0 777989 8968

 

Children First Now

http://www.childrenfirstnow.com

Spokesperson: Afsaneh Vahdat

afsanehvahdat13@gmail.com , 0046-702468454

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is a labour’s and children’s rights activist. He was arrested in June 2010 in Tehran. At the time of arrest, he was brutally beaten by the prison guards, and as a result he endured severe injuries to his leg and chest with broken ribs. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison in Iran. He is still in prison. He has been under physical and psychological torture continuously, while Behnam’s only child is undergoing treatment for Leukaemia.

Behnam was on a hunger strike for 31 days (started on 3rd December 2014) in Rajai-Shahr prison in order to protest his transfer to Ward 1—a section where violent and dangerous prisoners are housed. He stated that he will end his hunger strike as soon as he is returned to the Ward 12; the political prisoners ward.  On December 19, 2014, Mr. Ebrahimzadeh commenced a dry hunger strike. Two days later on December 21st he fell unconscious and was thus transferred to the hospital infirmary. However, the prisoner would not consent to intravenous treatment until the authorities promised to look into his transfer. After he agreed to treatment he stated that he would continue his hunger strike until he is removed from the violent prisoners Ward and returned to Ward 12.  On December 27th he was transferred to Ward 2 in Rajai Shahr prison which is yet another ward where dangerous criminals are housed. He therefore continued his hunger strike and as a result suffered from intestinal bleeding. He is demanding immediate attention to the legality of his case as Mr. Ebrahimzadeh has served 4 years of his 5 year sentence but the prison authorities were trying to extend his sentence by creating new charges for him. This has become common practice for the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding political prisoners:  the prisoners are technically not sentenced to death but silently and slowly killed in prison by various methods such as injuries acquired by extended torture or by being housed alongside very violent offenders. Behnam Ebrahimzadeh was tried again on 29th December 2014, in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. His lawyer was not allowed to attend the trial. Behnam was sentenced to another 9 and half years in prison.

At the end of his letter below he asks all human rights organizations and freedom loving to support him and to be the voice of him and all prisoners of conscience.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh’s letter about his condition and what goes on in ward 1 of Rajai-Shahr prison.

I, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh , political prisoner and labour and children’s’ rights activist , am writing to people about the conditions of Rajai-Shahr prison. I am writing from Karaj prison where I am in shackles and chains, a prison where all sorts of drugs are easily purchased and sold, a prison where the political inmates are subjected to the most barbaric tortures and denied of their most basic needs.

I was arrested on June 12, 2010, my long-term solitary confinements, and the nature of my interrogations, unjust trial and heavy sentence. You may also be aware of the inspection day and the attack on ward 350 Evin Prison when prisoners were brutally attacked and I was transferred to a solitary confinement. In order to torture me further, the prison authority has made a new allegation against me. My family was under pressure and I was deprived of medical attention.

I am in prison while my son has been fighting Leukemia and is hospitalized every month to undergo chemotherapy. I also have to mention that any kind of emotional pressure and stress is harmful and dangerous for him and every father’s wish is to be with his sick child and do his best for his recovery. I have not committed theft, nor pillaged or stolen anyone’s property. I was incarcerated merely for demanding freedom and justice. I was charged mainly because I revealed injustices and defended the rights of children and workers. The prison officials have not hesitated to impose all kinds of harassment, persecution and threats on my family and I. How can a prisoner and his family – with a sick child – endure all these hardships?

When they informed me on Monday, December 1st to report to court, I refused to go. However, the dispatch section agents, Mostafa Ghiasvand and Alireza Noroozi accompanied by a few other agents resorted to force in front of two political prisoners, named: Farshid Fathi and Arash Moghaddam Aslan-pour and a few other regular prisoners. A few guards attacked me and while they were beating and insulting me, they handcuffed me from behind, forced me into the car and drove me to the court…..

In court, I was charged with “having connections with Ahmed Shaheed” by judge Ahmad-Zadeh. After I returned to prison, they did not allow me to go back to ward 12 to take my personal belongings and medication, and without any explanation, transferred me to ward 1 where all murderers, criminals and drug addicts are held. All of this happened despite the prison doctor’s emphatic instructions regarding my health care and imminent surgery.

Currently, I am in ward 1 of Hosseinieh among dangerous inmates, sleeping on a cold floor. Within the last few days, a 23 year old inmate named Mehdi Amiri lost his life due to lack of proper medical care. Also, several inmates were injured in a group fight and prison guards didn’t do anything to stop the dispute. This is only one example of the violent behavior in this prison…… Nutrition and hygiene conditions are very bad and the prison is infested with cockroaches and lice…. Prison officials refuse to provide the minimum needs of the prisoners as stipulated and emphasized in prison regulations. This is the dreadful condition that 7000 inmates, serving long prison sentences or on death row, are kept.

I ask all human rights organizations and concerned individuals to be my voice as well as the voice of all political prisoners.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, Rajai-Shahr Prison- Iran, December 2014

——————————————————————————-

“Free Behnam “campaign

#FreeBehnam

The campaign in support of labour activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is a political prisoner who was sentenced to 5 years in prison in Iran for being a labour’s and children’s rights activist. He has been on a hunger strike since December 3, 2014 in Rajai-Shahr prison in order to protest his transfer to Ward 1—a section where violent and dangerous prisoners are housed. He has stated that he will end his hunger strike as soon as he is returned to the Ward 12; the political prisoners ward.

On December 19, 2014, Mr. Ebrahimzadeh commenced a dry hunger strike. Two days later on December 21st he fell unconscious and was thus transferred to the hospital infirmary. However, the prisoner would not consent to intravenous treatment until the authorities promised to look into his transfer. After he agreed to treatment he stated that he would continue his hunger strike until he is removed from the violent prisoners Ward and returned to Ward 12.

On December 27th he was transferred to Ward 2 in Rajai Shahr prison which is yet another ward where dangerous criminals are housed. He therefore continued his hunger strike and as a result suffered from intestinal bleeding. He is demanding immediate attention to the legality of his case as Mr. Ebrahimzadeh has served 4 years of his 5 year sentence but the prison authorities are trying to extend his sentence by creating new charges for him. This has become common practice for the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding political prisoners: the prisoners are technically not sentenced to death but silently and slowly killed in prison by various methods such as injuries acquired by extended torture or by being housed alongside very violent offenders; thus lowering the execution rate in the country and avoiding international criticism.

Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is to be tried again in the Islamic Republic’s courts on new charges for writing letters to Mr. Ahmad Shaheed (The UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran) and belonging to a banned opposition group; and yet the prisoner refuses to remain silent and remains on hunger strike in order to bring attention to his case and 7000 other prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison.

Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI), Free Them Now and Children First Now has initiated the Free Behnam campaign in January 2015 to put pressure on the regime in Iran to release labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.

We ask for help from the international community for this prisoner as he suffers from various ailments such as kidney pain, bleeding gums, neck and back injuries due to extended periods of torture followed by no medical intervention. We believe his life is in grave danger if there is no intervention from labour organisations, human rights organizations and the international community.

A week of solidarity with Behnam has been announced from 12th January – 18th January 2015. We invite you to join the campaign in support of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.

Please help us in any way possible such as writing to your government officials, International Labour Organisations, UN and the European Union and unions in your country and urge them to take an action in support of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh. You can also organise rallies and solidarity act in your city and sign Behnam’s petition.

Free Behnam campaign

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