Brief report on a week in solidarity with jailed labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh
Free Behnam campaing has announced 12 -18 January 2015 as a week of solidarity in support of jailed labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support, provide you with a brief report on the week of solidarity and ask you to please continue your support for jailed labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh.
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 sentenced again to another 9 and a half years in prison on 29th December 2014. His lawyer was not allowed to attend the trial.
During the solidarity week (12 -18 January 2015) :
Letters of support have been issued by several unions including: LO (Sweden), The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) , organisation of construction workers in Kurdistan-Iraq, Workers Solidarity Network Of the Middle East and North Africa” (WSNMN). They all demand the release of Behnam.
- There were also demonstration in Toronto –Canada and London-UK.
- On 16 January 2015 there was a Tweet storm in support of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh asking for his release
- Two hours Farsi live TV program on 18 January was dedicated to #FreeBehnam campaign which created an opportunity for the viewers in Iran and other countries to send their solidarity messages to Behnam
#FreeBehnam supporters also showed their solidarity by sending their pictures/videos while holding Behnam’s picture with the message that said :
“I am Behnam’s voice”, “Free Behnam”
Please see some of the pictures and videos vial link below:
Please continue your support, be the voice of labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and demand his release.
Ways to help:
SIGN PETITION: http://chn.ge/1xr3BZD
TWEET USING: #FreeBehnam Sample Tweet:
International Labour Organization Bureau for Workers’ Activities(ILOACTRIV)
Ms. Maria Helena ANDRE, Director
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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CONTACT your union: ask them to send a letter to the authorities in Iran in Support of jailed labour activist Behnam Ebrahimzdeh
(Please send a copy to us for our record)
Publicise: Help us publicise the situation of Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and other jailed labour activists in Iran among your network.
ACT OF SOLIDARITY: Take a picture holding Behnam’s photo and show your solidarity. Download picture here
Free Behnam Campaign
****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)
Spokesperson: Shiva Mahbobi
firstname.lastname@example.org, 0044 0 757235 6661
Free Them Now (Campaign to free jailed workers in IRAN)
Spokesperson: Shahla Daneshfar
email@example.com , 0044 0 777989 8968
Children First Now
Spokesperson: Afsaneh Vahdat
firstname.lastname@example.org , 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