A communique from the Reza Shahabi Defence Committee, upon the twenty-first day of the jailed Iranian trade unionist’s hunger strike. For updates, see http://www.workers-iran.org.
On Monday 21st Azar (14th December) the members of Reza’s family went to Evin prison to visit him. They were informed that, owing to his physical condition, it was impossible for him to be moved to the visiting room and that they were to move to Evin’s prosecutor’s quarters because he could be moved there by car.
On the twenty first day of his hunger strike, Reza Shahabi is in such a state that he can not even shake his head. Before Reza was moved from block 209 to block 350, he was told that if he gave up his activities in the workers’ movement the authorities would free him, and that he must answer immediately, but Reza refused. Another security operative came to block 350 to tell him yesterday that if he ceased his hunger strike he would be freed, and he replied that he had been told the same thing before and although they knew he is innocent, they went back on their promise. ‘This time I will not cease my hunger strike to the point of death, and ask for immediate and unconditional release. ‘
In a visit with his family Reza told them that it would make him proud to die for the workers’ movement. ‘We are the 99% of society’, he told them. ‘But wealth remains in the hands of 1%. We have to give from our lives at work, but can not even afford to take our children on a holiday for a few days. We can’t take them to schools to learn anything. I have fought for our right and justice for workers, and I will continue to do so. So now, I will continue to the end of my innocent life stand on my demand; immediate and unconditional release. I do not want release on the grounds of “Cancelled punishment”. Nor do I want a pardon. I have not committed any crime for the punishment to be cancelled, and no accusation has been made for me to be pardoned from. They have made me sick and taken half my life. I have to be vindicated and released unconditionally and immediately.’ At the same time, the Evin prison doctor has told Reza that his emergency operation is very dangerous and that the vertebrae in his neck need to be reset. This operation has a high risk and none of the authorities will take responsibility for carrying it out. Which hospital or which security guard will stand up and take responsibility? Indeed the doctor has told Reza that everyone will shirk this responsibility.
From Monday morning, Behnam Ibrahimzadeh, a worker activist jailed in block 350 of Evin, began a hunger strike in protest over Reza’s physical condition and in support of his demand for immediate and unconditional release.
The Reza Shahabi Defence Committee has received many messages of support in the past few days from working class activists and organisations, both inside and outside of the country, joining the fight for Reza’s freedom. We would like to thank them all and share the most up to date news of the workers and worker-activists in the country who have declared their support.
This committee wishes for all members and supporters to use any possible path to win Reza’s immediate and unconditional freedom.
Members and supporters can send their suggestions, programs and opinions to the committee via email. Similarly, friends and supporters who would like to get involved with the spokespeople’s group or to give us their opinions and views can send their telephone numbers to the email address.
The Reza Shahabi Defence Committee 21 Azar 1390
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran
Immediate and Unconditional Freedom for Reza Shahabi!
The International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran is supporting the campaign to free Reza Shahabi and is therefore urging Working Class activists to write to him asking him to end his hunger strike whilst supporting his demand for unconditional and immediate release. As comrades and friends will be aware, every moment and every message counts. Please explain to Reza that the international working class movement need him, and that you call on the prison and judicial systems to free this innocent comrade immediately.
Please email messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org