Workers Flogged for Celebrating May Day
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called on the Iranian Judiciary to put an end to prosecution of workers for exercising their legitimate rights to freedoms of assembly and expression.
“It is unacceptable that the Iranian Judiciary would put workers on trial for celebrating May Day. To flog them is even more disturbing. It is a form of inhumane punishment that amount to torture under international law,” the group said.
On 16 February 2008, Sanandaj’s Revolutionary Court issued a flogging sentence and fines in amount of 20,00,000 Rials ($220) for 11 workers who participated in a May Day Celebration. On the same day, the authorities carried out the flogging sentence of 10 lashes for three of the workers, Sadeq Amjadi, Fars Gooyilian, and Habibollah Kalehkani.
The three workers belong to the Union of Unemployed and Dismissed Workers. On May 1, 2007, the Union held a public event that was disrupted by security forces. The authorities arrested two members of the Union’s central council, Seys Amani and Sadiq Karimi along with 11 other participants. Amani and Karimi are sentenced to two and half year imprisonment.
According to Mokrian New Agency, a local human rights news website, the other eight workers sentenced to fogging and financial penalties are: Abas Andaryani, Tayeb Chetani, Yadollah Moradi, Tayeb Malaii, Eqbal Latifi, Sadiq Sobhani, Mahyedin Rajabi, and Khalid Savari.
A lower court had sentenced the 11 workers to 91 days of imprisonment, ten lashes, and financial fines. The court charged the workers with “disturbing the public order” and “participation in an illegal gathering.” The appeals court rejected the imprisonment sentence but kept the flogging sentences and the financial penalties in place.
The Iranian government consistently prosecutes workers for their peaceful activities to form independent unions and to promote implementation of international labor standards. Mahmoud Salehi and Mansour Osanloo, two leading trade-unionist, are currently in prison, serving lengthy sentences.