Summary: Appeal on behalf of labor activists and a journalist who have undergone prison and torture after workers staged a militant strike at a Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane facility in southern Iran — Editors
You may be aware of the recent events at Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane facility in southern Iran. The workers have organized something like a council and tried to take control of the mill. They were on strike for more than 28 days and held demonstrations in the nearby city of Shush.
The same thing is going on in Ahwaz, a big city in southern Iran. The workers at a steel complex began daily demonstrations in Ahwaz and gained a lot of sympathy from other workers, teachers, students, and ordinary people.
Nearly 10 days ago, the leader of the Haft Tapeh workers was arrested along with a young woman journalist. They were brutally tortured and are still in custody. The workers have published a statement. Would you please publicize it wherever you can?
— Correspondent, Iran
Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Workers’ Syndicate Statement:
This is a serious warning about the health of Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, who remain in custody. According to a number of reliable reports, the families of Bakhshi and Gholian finally got a chance to visit them in prison in order to check in on the status of their children and to organize legal follow-up with their lawyers. During these separate visits, the families found that both of them were severely injured and under intense physical and psychological pressure.
According to the same reports, Bakhshi and Gholian, who were arrested on November 18, 2018, are in critical physical condition. They could not tell the time or even whether it was day or night, as they have been kept in solitary confinement. Gholian is perceptibly emaciated, and when her mother hugged her, she felt pain. Esmail’s physical condition was also very serious and there is still bruising on his forehead from beatings. According to these reports, Bakhshi has been in critical physical condition and after hearing the reports of public support for him, he smiled knowing that his suffering and cruel treatment had been disclosed.
We condemn the severe physical and psychological conditions forced upon Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian and are calling for their immediate and unconditional release. The responsibility for all their suffering, harassment, beatings, and current conditions lies directly with the Iranian state. Their safety and wellbeing are the responsibility of the government, the intelligence services, and the judicial authorities. We are deeply concerned for their lives.
We are calling on all workers for Haft Tapeh across Iran, on workers’ organizations internationally, as well as all other relevant institutions and media to maximize their efforts for the release of Esmail Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholian and Ali Nejati, a recently arrested member of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Worker’s Syndicate
— Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Workers’ Syndicate, December 4, 2018 (Azar 13 1397)