Mother and Wife of Ailing, Imprisoned Labor Leader Plead for His Release
Free Osanloo Now!
(17 May 2009) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran urged Iran’s leading judicial authorities to review the conviction and sentencing of labor activist Mansour Osanloo and to release him. Government appointed medical examiners have twice ordered an end to his imprisonment due to his failing health, but judicial authorities have failed to release him.
The Campaign is seriously concerned that further imprisonment of Osanloo could cause his death. Iranian prison officials have a track record of denying urgent health care to prisoners of conscience, resulting in their death. Most recently, Omidreza Mirsayafi, an imprisoned blogger, died in Evin prison on 18 March 2009 after prison officials failed to provide him urgent medical care.
Osanloo’s family has pleaded for his release, with his mother having written letters to Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the head of the Judiciary, in which she expressed fears for his life.
“We have tried all legal venues and appeals to the Judiciary to win Osanloo’s release to no avail; his continued imprisonment is cruel,” Osanloo’s wife Parvaneh Osanloo told the Campaign. “His family is calling on the international community, especially the labor organizations to continue supporting Osanloo and urge his release,” she added.
Osanloo has been languishing in prison since 10 July 2007. After being held in Evin prison he was suddenly transferred to Rejaee Shahr prison on 15 October 2008. The prison is unsuitable for someone with Osanloo’s severe health problems and is populated with the most dangerous criminals and violent offenders. Osanloo suffers from severe eye ailments and requires consistent medical attention because of open-heart surgery conducted a few years ago.
Fatemeh Golgozi, Osanloo’s mother, has written a letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi detailing the suffering she and her daughter-in-law have endured since 2007. She asks, “Is it justice to make my daughter-in-law with two children endure such hardship and pain simply because her husband worked for his basic rights and the rights of workers in the Islamic Republic through his union?”
Osanloo is serving a five-year prison sentence after being charged with “acting against national security” because of his activities organizing labor unions. He is the founding member of the Syndicate of Bus Operators of Tehran and Suburbs, an independent union that campaigns for the rights of workers. He has campaigned consistently for government recognition of the right to form independent unions and he has been repeatedly targeted as a leader of the campaign for workers’ rights in Iran. Events organized by his Syndicate have been attacked, during which members have been seriously injured.
“Continuing Mansour Osanloo’s incarceration is cruel and inhumane punishment in light of his physical condition, and it is emblematic of the denial of labor rights in Iran,” Aaron Rhodes, the Campaign‘s spokesperson said. “The Judiciary should immediately tend to his needs and release him to ensure his safety.”
There are serious concerns for Osanloo’s health and safety. In addition to eye ailments and his open-heart surgery, two of his arteries are clogged. He has undergone several surgeries but is denied routine specialist health care inside the prison. International labor unions and human rights organizations have urged his immediate release.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran calls on Iranian officials to release Mansour Osanloo and review laws governing medical care in prisons to ensure safety for all prisoners. The Campaign urges the government to end its persecution and prosecution of all labor activists and to release over a hundred people detained on 1 May 2009 for participating in a May Day celebration.
The full text of the letter by Osanloo’s mother to the head of the Judiciary is as follows:
In the Name of God
The Honorable Head of the Judiciary Mr. Shahroudi
Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran
With Greetings and Respect,
I am Fatemeh Golgozi, mother of Mansour Osanloo, the head of the Syndicate of Bus Drivers of Tehran and Suburbs, who because he defended his rights and the rights of his coworkers has been unjustly held in prison for 3 years. I am requesting for your attention and resolution of my son’s case.
Mansour Osanloo, since his detention and the extension of his prison term has suffered from serious physical and mental ailments. Because of his condition, the government appointed medical examiner has twice ordered an end to his imprisonment, which unfortunately has been denied by judicial authorities. I, as his mother, if the highest and most respected Judge in the country will allow me, would like to ask these questions:
- Should someone who served the people for years as a driver in the Tehran Bus Company be treated in such a way?
- Why are we, as his family, facing utter indifference and lack of response from the judicial authorities to our inquiries, instead of his unconditional release?
- Is it justice to make my daughter in law with two children endure such hardship and pain simply because her husband worked for his basic rights and the rights of co-workers, within the constitutional and legal framework?
- My son, Mansour Osanloo, has done nothing but defended his rights that are guaranteed under our laws and he should not be in prison for this.
I request of you and all the authorities in the country, all sympathetic peoples in Iran and the world and all civil structures and human rights organizations to call for unconditional release of my son. I, his old and sick mother who face difficulty visiting my son held far away in Rejaee Shahr prison in Karaj, am in a very difficult situation. I ask for all your help to assists me, within these few days of life I have left, to secure the release of my son. I brought up my children to be responsible, sympathetic, and patriotic citizens, so help me in my struggle.
In the meantime, my son who worked for 27 years for the company, was laid off without any rights or privileges. Why would they act this way with someone who has been so loyal and sympathetic to his country?
2 May 2009