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Iran: 18 incarcerated mine workers released

18 other incarcerated Khatoon Abad copper mine workers released on bail 5 detainees remain behind bars.

February 14, 2016: According to various news agencies in Iran and abroad, the lawyer for the 28 detained Khatoon Abad copper mine workers announced on Saturday February 13, 2016 that 23 of these workers have thus far been released on bail. Each of these workers had to put up 50 million tomans as bail in order to secure their temporary release. This means that in addition to the 5 workers who had been released on February 8, 2016, 18 others were released from February 9th to 13th for a total of 23. Their lawyer, Ms. S. Mahmoudi, reported that the remaining five detained workers will soon be released as well.


Khatoon Abad workers had staged a series of protests after the Khatoon Abad Copper Mines, owned by the National Iranian Copper Industries Company, terminated 170 contract workers who had been promised permanent positions. On January 26, 2016, 28 workers were arrested during a protest, which prompted condemnations in Iran and internationally.

The unjust arrest of these workers triggered international solidarity campaigns which helped with increasing pressures on the Iranian government authorities to release the incarcerated workers. ILNA, which is a government-sponsored news agency, reported on the arrests of these workers and in a rare coverage highlighted the protest letter and a statement by the IndustriALL Global Union in support of the Khatoon Abad detainees (see here and here). This primarily had to do with the fact that the support by IndustriALL Global Union and other labour organizations had already been widely disseminated and publicized across Iran which proved to be very effective in terms of increasing support for the release of jailed workers.

160216 Iran4International solidarity is indeed especially crucial for workers in Iran because they don't have their own independent and established unions or other workers' organizations and most of their struggles particularly in cities other than Tehran take place in total isolation. We have witnessed that the number of protests by workers has been growing in recent months mostly for the payment of unpaid wages and job security. At the same time, IRI is exploring a wide range of practices in order to crush increasing workers' protests by involving even its paramilitary forces like Basij.

It's also very imperative to emphasize that most of the Khatoon Abad detained workers will face charges and trials in future and the labour movement needs to be proactive in terms of gathering and sustaining more support for these fellow workers who got arrested and persecuted for demanding nothing but their most basic needs as human beings. IASWI will collect more information about these cases and will issue subsequent updates.
International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)
February 14, 2016
PLEASE SEND protest letters demanding the immediate release of all arrested workers, directly to:
· Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
· President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hassan Rouhani
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
@Rouhani_ir (Persian)
· The Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran – High Council of Human Rights
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cc: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)
February 14, 2016
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.workers-iran.org
@IASWIinfo;
www.facebook.com/IASWI