Iran’s Judiciary Prevents Top Labor Activists From Attending International Conference
A travel ban imposed by the Iranian judiciary has prevented prominent labor rights activists Reza Shahabi and Davoud Razavi from attending an international labor conference in Switzerland, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
The two senior members of the Tehran Bus Drivers Union (TBDU) were unable to attend the 106th session of the International Labor Organization in Geneva on (June 1-13, 2017) despite receiving invites.
Hassan Saeedi, a member of the TBDU’s board of directors, was the only union representative able to attend the conference, according to a statement from the organization published on June 12.
An informed source told CHRI that Shahabi remains prohibited from travelling outside Iran despite recently completing his prison term while Davoudi was banned from traveling in a preliminary trial. The men were both prosecuted for their peaceful, lawful trade union activities.
In June 2010, Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Shahabi to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “assembly and collusion against national security.” He was released on September 23, 2014 for medical reasons.
Davoudi was sentenced to five years in prison and banned from traveling in February 2016 by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court for “acting against national security” and “disturbing peace and order.” He remains free while awaiting a hearing at the Appeals Court.
Labor activism in Iran is seen as a national security offense; independent labor unions are not allowed to function, strikers are often fired and risk arrest, and labor leaders are consistently prosecuted under catchall national security charges and sentenced to long prison terms.