Teacher’s Union Leader Conditionally Released on Parole
Teacher’s rights activist Rassoul Bodaghi, who was imprisoned in Iran for six years for his peaceful labor activism, was conditionally released on April 29, 2016.
His lawyer, Peyman Haj-Mahmoud Attar, recently spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about Bodaghi’s unjust imprisonment and recent release.
“These [imprisoned teachers and labor] activists haven’t committed any crimes. None of the accusations leveled against them are true,” said Attar. “All they have tried to do is improve the welfare of their colleagues.”
Bodaghi, a former teacher and board member of the Iranian Teachers Association, was arrested on September 2, 2009. About a year later he was sentenced to six years in prison on August 4, 2010 and banned from social activities for five years by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court for “assembly with the intent to disrupt national security” and “propaganda against the state.”
In August 2015, when he was expecting to be freed, Bodaghi was sentenced to three additional years in prison by Judge Mohammad Moghisseh for “propaganda against the state” and “insulting Imam Khomeini and the supreme leader.”
Attar told the Campaign that the parole conditions stated in Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code applied to Bodaghi: “He has been given parole. His continued imprisonment has been terminated.”
Attar, who represents a number of other imprisoned members of the Iranian Teachers Association, also told the Campaign that Ali Akbar Baghani has been summoned this week to begin serving two years in exile in Zabol, a city in Iran’s impoverished Sistan and Baluchestan Province.
Baghani, the former deputy chairman of the Iranian Teachers Association, and its former spokesman, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, were arrested after security agents raided their homes on April 29, 2010. They were held in solitary confinement for about two months in Evin Prison’s Ward 209, which is controlled by the Intelligence Ministry, and released after the posting of substantial bail amounts, according to Attar.
Baghani was sentenced to a year in prison and two years in exile in January 2013 for “propaganda against the state” by Judge Yahya Pirabbasi of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court. Baghani was summoned to serve his prison sentence on May 25, 2015 and released from Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj on March 16, 2016.
Langroudi received a five-year prison sentence in June 2013 from Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court for “colluding against national security” and “propaganda against the state.”
He began a wet hunger strike on April 20, 2016 in Tehran’s Evin Prison to protest against the “the tyrannical sentence issued by the Revolutionary Court,” a source told the Campaign.
“I will go on a hunger strike and refuse everything except water, tea, sugar and salt until my sentence is terminated and a public trial is held based on Article 168 of the Constitution,” wrote Langroudi, a teacher for 25 years, in a statement published on the Teachers and Workers Rights website (Hoghooghe Moalem va Karegar) on April 20, 2016.
The imprisoned former chairman of the Iranian Teachers Association, Esmail Abdi, who is serving a six-year prison sentence, also began a hunger strike on April 29, 2016 to protest Iran’s criminalization of organized labor gatherings, the conviction of labor activists on trumped-up charges, wages below the poverty line, and the ban on International Labor Day and Teacher’s Day celebrations.
Abdi’s sentence has been appealed but the Appeals Court has not yet issued a ruling on the lower court’s decision, according to Attar.