After 20-Day Hunger Strike, Imprisoned Teacher Activist Released on Temporary Medical Leave
The teachers’ union activist Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi was allowed to leave Evin prison on December 16, 2015, on temporary medical leave after a 20-day hunger strike to protest his nine-year prison sentence.
Two days earlier, Mahmoud Habibi, a member of the Teachers’ Association’s board of directors, told a labor rights website that Langroudi’s health had seriously deteriorated.
“Physically, the hunger strike has left him in a very bad shape. His weight has dropped to the lowest possible level. On some days his blood pressure fell so low that he had to be connected to an IV, which was a very dangerous situation, given his age” Habibi said.
Langroudi, 55, wrote an open letter from Evin Prison on December 2, 2015, warning that the responsibility for the consequences of his hunger strike would be “on those who have treated me unjustly and are ignoring my demand for justice.”
Langroudi was sentenced to nine years in prison for “colluding against national security” and “propaganda against the state” by Judge Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in June 2013, in a trial that lasted less than eight minutes.
Labor leaders are vigorously prosecuted in Iran under catchall national security charges, and independent labor unions are not allowed to operate. Langroudi was the former spokesperson for the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association.
Peyman Haj-Mahmoud Attar, the lawyer for the Teachers’ Association, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in October 2015, that the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization was treating legal activities by the union teachers as a threat to national security.
Protests by teachers have been prominent in cities across Iran throughout 2015. They have protested the arrest and imprisonment of their labor leaders, the arrests of strikers, and salaries that are below the official poverty rate in Iran.