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TUC General Secretary writes to the Ambassador of Iran to request the immediate release of Mr Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association.

H.E. Mr Hamid Baeidinejad 

Ambassador

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

16 Prince’s Gate

London SW7 1PT

8 May 2018

Dear Ambassador

Request for the immediate release of Mr Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association

On behalf of the more than 5.5 million trade unionists in the UK, the TUC protests at the ongoing deplorable treatment of trade unionist Mr Esmail Abdi, a school teacher and leader of the Tehran branch of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA). I urge you to call upon the Iranian authorities to release Esmail Abdi immediately and unconditionally from Tehran’s Evin prison.

Esmail, who is serving a six-year sentence for his peaceful trade union activities, started a hunger strike on 24 April to protest against the treatment of teachers and workers in Iran, and the denial of his requests for prison leave. Esmail has been denied communications with members of his family and his lawyer and the brutal conditions of the prison are taking a toll on his health, even before his decision to go on hunger strike.

The TUC is very concerned for the health, wellbeing and human rights of Esmail, as his imprisonment is a direct infringement of several international human rights conventions, including those protecting the freedom of expression and association, which your government is duty bound to uphold by virtue of your country’s ILO membership.

Therefore, we ask that you convey our demands to the Iranian authorities to release Esmail immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for his peaceful trade union activities, and ensure, in the meantime, that he has access to a qualified health professional who can provide health care in compliance with medical ethics.

We urge you to call on the Iranian authorities to end the misuse of the criminal justice system against those who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, and we request that the Iranian authorities respect and protect the right of everyone to form and join the trade union of their choice, which is guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), both of which Iran has ratified.

I look forward to hearing that our urgent call has been conveyed to the Iranian authorities.

Yours sincerely

FRANCES O'GRADY

General Secretary