Release Detained Labour Rights Activists
The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release labour rights activists arbitrarily detained solely for taking part in peaceful protests and strikes or otherwise peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, Amnesty International said on International Workers’ Day.
In the past year, since International Workers’ Day in 2018, Amnesty International has documented the arrests of hundreds of workers and other labour rights activists in the context of a campaign by the authorities to repress social unrest and public dissent. Courts have handed down prison sentences to dozens of them, in at least 38 cases compounding these by ordering those convicted to be flogged as well.
The Iranian authorities should also initiate impartial, independent and effective investigations into allegations that some labour rights activists, including Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, whose testimonies Amnesty International has documented in detail, have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention in recent months. Anyone found responsible should be brought to justice in trials that meet international fair trial standards.
The organization renews its calls on the Iranian authorities to lift their unlawful ban on independent trade unions and allow workers to hold peaceful gatherings, including on International Workers’ Day, and to exercise their right to form and join independent trade unions.