Transferred from solitary to general ward of Evin prisonJuly 16, 2015
Update on Esmael Abdi
Esmael Abdi is the General Secretary of the Iranian Teacher Trade Association (ITTA) of Tehran.
EI’s affiliate, CCITTA (Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations) is the federation of provincial teacher trade associations. Each of the provincial ITTA sends a representative to CCITTA. There is no elected position within CCITTA.
According to information received from the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Esmael Abdi has been transferred from solitary confinement to the general ward of the Evin prison. There is still no information about the charges against him. It also seems he has not been allowed to see a lawyer (to be confirmed).
On 14 July 2015, after more than seventeen days in jail, he was able to meet with his family. His wife, three children and his mother met him in person for an hour and fifteen minutes in the presence of an assistant interrogator. According to his wife, Mr. Abdi was in good spirits and his famous cheerful disposition had not changed. Mr. Abdi informed his family that his interrogation is at the final stages.
Esmael Abdi has been detained several times already. Recently, he was sentenced to conditional ten years imprisonment. During the teacher protests over wages across the country in April, he was summoned and threatened that his sentence would be executed if he would not resign from his union position. His resignation was rejected by the board of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association (ITTA of Tehran).
The unjustified detention of the union leader has angered the community of teachers in Iran and there has been active response to his arrest throughout the country.
As EI stated previously, in addition to Esmael Abdi, five other teacher unionists are languishing in the Iranian prisons: Ali Akbar Baghani, Rasoul Bodaghi, Mahmoud Bagheri (all three board members of the Tehran Teachers Trade Association), Alireza Hashemi and Alireza Ghanbari
The situation of ordinary teacher activists and their family in Iran is considered very alarming by all the specialists that EI has reached within and outside Iran.
Update on EI’s campaign
The Urgent Action Appeal http://www.ei-ie.org/en/uaas/uaa_details/58 launched by EI has resulted in a massive mobilisation of EI affiliates. Many have addressed letters to their ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Iranian embassies in their country. A full list will be circulated after the Congress).
The timing is good since the Vienna negotiation on Iran’s nuclear programme and agreement, open the door to further discussion of the Iranian human rights situation.
The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) and the British TUC have, among others, also sent letters to President Rouhani.
The LabourStart petition, promoted by EI, is now running in 16 languages and has recorded over 10,000 messages http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2779
The Canadian Teacher Federation has also launched a Thunderclap campaign in support of Esmael Abdi www.thunderclap.it/projects/28671-free-lib-rez-esmail?locale=en
At this stage it is unlikely that any teacher representative from Iran may attend the World Congress, although four representatives had been registered by EI’s affiliate.
In addition to the two colleagues held in Iran, one detained (Esmael Abdi) and the other, Peyman Nodinian who had his passport confiscated, the two others have not obtained their visa from the Canadian immigration. Efforts by CTF-FCE and EI have not been resulted in a change of these decisions.
A solidarity action will be held in Ottawa where Congress participants are able to take a selfie with a mock-up of Esmael Abdi and share it on social media.
In the meantime the public solidarity campaign continues through the EI Urgent Action Appeals and links to LabourStart and Thunderclap.
Thank you for your solidarity,
Update onJuly 13, 2015
HRANA News Agency – There is no information about the charges and condition of interrogation of Esmaeil Abdi, imprisoned teacher and general secretary of the teachers union, who has been arrested by the intelligence service of IRGC.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), based on the available evidences, Esmaeil Abdi is being interrogated in ward 2-A of Evin prison. He did not have any visit with his lawyer and family and his only contact with outside of prison was a two minutes telephone call with his family.
The general secretary of the teachers union, was arrested on June 27, when he went to Evin court in order to track the reason of being banned from departing the country. After hours of interrogation he was transferred to Evin prison. This was while more than 70 people from civil and union activists had accompanied him.
Earlier on June 21st, when he was intending to depart the country to Armenia, for attending in EI (Seventh Congress of the World Federation of Unions of Education and Teachers’ Associations), as the representative of the central council of the teachers unions in Iran, he was informed that he is not allowed and his passport was seized. The authorities had stated that a court order by Evin court stated that he was banned from departing the country and he had to go to court on Wednesday June 24.
Esmaeil Abdi has several detentions in his record and last time he was sentenced to conditional ten years in prison. During the protests of teachers across the country in April, he was summoned and threatened that his sentence would be executed if he would not resign, the resignation that was rejected by the board of teachers union.