Harassment of Teachers’ Union Leader Continues with New Summons
Rassoul Bodaghi, a senior member of the Iranian Teacher’s Association who has been repeatedly harassed by security agents since he was conditionally freed from prison a few months ago, will not obey a mysterious summons ordering him to appear in court on July 16, 2016.
“The summons, sent by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court, does not state the charges against him or why he has to make an appearance,” an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “It just says he has to appear because he’s a ‘suspect.’ The summons does not even include an official stamp. Mr. Bodaghi says this an illegal order perhaps sent by the security organizations to intimidate him. He says he will not appear in court.”
“The phone threats started right after he got out of prison [on July 16, 2016],” added the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “The Intelligence Ministry would call him and his family members and tell them they should be silent and not engage in any [activist] activities even though he has not been doing anything. He has been invited by teachers from all over the country to give speeches, but has followed the advice of his colleagues and decided to spend time with his family instead. But he is still getting threatening calls, and now he has been summoned to court for a second time.”
The 50-year-old former teacher has also been summoned to appear at Branch 1033 of the Criminal Court in Tehran on July 23, 2016 based on a complaint by two soldiers who physically assaulted him and then accused him of “insulting the supreme leader.” If convicted, Bodaghi could face up to three years in prison.
“Mr. Bodaghi had gone to the hospital to visit [former cellmate] Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, but these soldiers would not let him inside,” said the source. “When Mr. Bodaghi objected, the soldiers beat him up and detained him. Now they are accusing him of something else to cover up their violent actions.”
Bodaghi was a high school teacher in the city of Eslamshahr in Tehran Province when he was arrested on September 2, 2009 for his peaceful labor rights activities on behalf of teachers. He was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from social activities for five years by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on August 3, 2010 for “assembly with the intent to disrupt national security” and “propaganda against the state.”
Independent unions are not permitted to function in the Islamic Republic, and labor leaders face swift prosecution and long prison sentences.