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Amnesty International

Iran: Further information on arbitrary arrest/possible prisoner of conscience/medical concern: Mansour Ossanlu (m)

Amnesty International
January 31, 2007
Appeal/Urgent Action

AI Index: MDE 13/011/2007

Further Information on UA 08/06 (MDE 13/002/2006, 09 January 2006) and follow-ups (MDE 13/094/2006, 17 August 2006; MDE 13/129/2006, 29 November 2006) - Arbitrary Arrest/Possible prisoner of conscience/Medical concern

IRAN Mansour Ossanlu (m), Head of the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Sherkat-e Vahed)

Mansour Ossanlu is now known to have been released on 19 December, on bail of 30 million Toumans (over US$35,000). It is not clear when his trial will begin.

Mansour Ossanlu had been detained without a warrant on 19 November outside his home by men in plain clothes, thought to be members of the security forces, and taken to Evin prison, where he was held in Section 209 until his release. He reportedly had no access to his lawyer. His wife was allowed to meet him on 26 November and Mansour Ossanlu reportedly complained to her about the vision in one of his eyes, which had been operated on a few days before his arrest, and said he was not being given any medical attention. Before he was arrested he had received a summons ordering him to come to Branch Four of the Special Court for Government Employees on 20 November.

On 26 November, Mansour Ossanlu appeared without his lawyer at Branch 14 of Tehran Revolutionary Court for initial investigations by the Prosecutor. No specific charges are said to have been mentioned during the hearing. However, in an interview with the Iranian daily E’temad Melli published on 22 November, the Minister of Justice, who is the spokesperson for the Judiciary, had stated that Mansour Ossanlu had been re-arrested because he had failed to hand himself over to the prison authorities when an arrest order and summons was issued for him. However, according to his legal representatives, what Mansour Ossanlu had received was not an arrest order or summons to return to prison, but simply an order to attend court on 20 November, by which time he had been arrested.

On 12 December, his lawyers stated, "When we met with Mr Osanlu on 11 December 2006, his understanding was that he had been arrested because of his trade union activities as well as his contacts with international organizations such as the ILO [International Labour Organization], UN and international labour organizations."

After he was released in August, Mansour Ossanlu had continued his trade union activities, although the police reportedly harassed him and his family. He complained to the UN office in Tehran about the harassment and was summoned to the Revolutionary Court shortly afterwards where he was reportedly threatened with imprisonment. On 8 November, Mansour Ossanlu and nine other executive members of the bus workers' union he heads, Sharekat-e Vahed, were briefly detained in Tabriz while on their way to a workshop on "Globalisation and Privatisation" run by the ILO’s sub-regional office for South Asia. Other participants who were members of state-run Islamic Labour Councils are not believed to have been arrested.

Amnesty International believes that Mansour Ossanlu was a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his peaceful trade union activities, including contacts with international organizations such as the ILO, the UN and the International Trade Union Confederation.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company is said to have been founded in 1979 and resumed activities in 2004 after a 25-year ban. It is still not legally recognised.

Iran is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 22 (1) states: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests." Article 26 of Iran’s Constitution states: "The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations … is permitted provided they do not violate the principles of independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic republic. No one may be prevented from participating in the aforementioned groups, or be compelled to participate in them."

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English or your own language:

- welcoming the release on bail of Mansour Ossanlu;

- asking to be informed in detail of any charges brought against him and of any trial which may be held;

- urging the authorities to drop any charges against him which relate solely to his peaceful exercise of his internationally recognized right to form and join trade unions or to freedom of expression or association;

- stating that if Mansour Ossanlu were to be convicted and imprisoned solely on the basis of such charges, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience, and would call for his immediate and unconditional release;

- reminding the authorities of their obligations under the ICCPR, Article 22 (1) of which provides for the right to form and join trade unions.

APPEALS TO:

Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: info@leader.ir

istiftaa@wilayah.org

Fax: +98 251 774 2228 (mark "FAO the Office of His Excellency, Ayatollah al Udhma Khamenei")

Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:

President

His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: +981 6 674 790 (via foreign ministry - mark "Please forward to H.E. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad")

Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir

via website: www.president.ir/email

Speaker of Parliament

His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel

Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami

Imam Khomeini Avenue,

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Fax: + 98 21 6 646 1746

and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 March 2006.