July 28, 2017- Esmail Abdi, a member of the board of directors of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (Tehran), who had been released on bail, was arrested without a prior notice on July 26, 2017. Abdi was leaving his home for a medical appointment but security agents were waiting for him outside his residence and arrested him recklessly. They took him to section 350 of Evin prison without informing his family members. His wife only found out about his whereabouts a day after his arrest. Abdi was on furlough and, according to a prosecutor’s assurance, his leave was supposed to continue so he could address his health issues.
As we previously reported, Esmail Abdi, also a member of the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Associations, was arrested on July 27, 2015 due to his union activities for the rights of teachers. Since then he was serving a prison sentence in Evin Prison. After 38 days of hunger strike, Abdi was temporarily transferred to hospital on June 3, 2017 and then after two days was returned to the Evin prison. He was temporarily released again, this time on a 300 million toman bail, on June 25, 2017. During this time Abdi was receiving messages that they wanted him to go back to the prison and his surety was under pressures as well.
Esmail Abdi is currently serving a six-year sentence, and his interrogators have been threatening to add his previous suspended sentences, which had been issued against him in 2010, in which case he must be in prison for more than twelve years in total. Abdi’s health during his detention and following his hunger strike has deteriorated considerably and he had been seeking medical assistance and needed to rest. In addition to causing additional burden on him, his continued imprisonment will cause a lot of harm to his spouse and their three children. They live in a rental place and were about to move to a new location.
Iranian teachers and their associations as well as education workers’ unions from Europe to Canada and Education International have been very proactive in support of Abdi and have repeatedly called on the Iranian government to free Abdi unconditionally. It is absolutely crucial to increase the pressures on the Iranian government authorities and international bodies such as ILO to demand the immediate freedom of Esmail Abdi who has been a target of a mean-spirited assault on his rights as a teacher and trade union activist within a broader context of ongoing offensives against public education, workers’ rights and the right to organize and protest.
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)
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July 28, 2017