Letter to the Head of the Judiciary to Release Osanloo
1 June 2009
I am writing on behalf of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to express our alarm about threats to the health and safety of imprisoned labor leader Mansour Osanloo, and to appeal urgently for your intervention.
We are seriously concerned for Mr. Osanloo’s life. He is held in Rajaiee Shahr prison, in Karaj, along with violent criminals who have threatened his life. He could die as a result of such attacks and ensuing mayhem. He should not be held under such dangerous circumstances. Furthermore, having served more than half of his prison term, the Iranian laws allow for his release, which we urge you to immediately implement.
Mr. Osanloo has been violently attacked twice in the past 10 days. On 19 May 2009, he was assaulted by a group of prisoners, and only escaped harm by being defended by others. On 30 May 2009, Osanloo’s life was threatened by Morteza Lak Tabrizi, one of the violent criminals with whom he is currently confined. While other prisoners managed to pull away Lak Tabrizi, he threatened Osanloo by repeatedly screaming, “I will have you cut into pieces with a knife.” We understand Lak Tabrizi is one of the most dangerous criminals inside Iranian prisons. Holding Osanloo in his proximity and exposing him to such threats only exacerbates our concerns.
Osanloo’s aging mother and his wife are also in vulnerable situations, witnessing how his life is threatened inside prison and his health deteriorating. They have made several attempts to submit a letter to your office but your staff refused to accept their petition addressed to you, treated them rudely, and ignoring their submission, they were expelled from the premises.
Osanloo’s health situation has been deteriorating for many months. Numerous human rights and labor organizations, as well as international organizations and governments, have expressed concern about the lack of proper attention to his severe health problems; about the fact that he is inappropriately incarcerated along with some of the most dangerous convicted criminals in Iran; and about the fact that Osanloo is a political prisoner and a prisoner of conscience, whose only “crime” has been his work on behalf of the legitimate rights of workers in Iran.
The continued neglect of Osanloo’s life-threatening health problems and threats against him by other prisoners can easily result in further deterioration or even his death. Official medical experts have warned that he cannot tolerate continued imprisonment under the prevailing conditions. As you know, under international law, Iranian authorities are legally responsible for the welfare of prisoners under their supervision.
At this point, Mr. Osanloo has served over half of his sentence, and has been allowed no vacation from prison. According to his lawyer, he can be released at this time, a course of action we respectfully ask that you consider.
We will be deeply grateful for your urgent intervention in this matter, which, if left unattended, can result in a tragedy with far-reaching, negative consequences for Iran.