Detained Teachers’ Rights Activist Denied Months of Salary Due to “Fault of Others”
Detained teachers’ rights activist Mohammad Habibi is being denied his monthly state salary despite not being convicted of any crime, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has been informed.
Habibi, a 29-year-old member of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA), has not been paid his wages since his arrest on May 17, 2018, according to a colleague who spoke to CHRI on July 18, 2018.
“Mr. Habibi is still under temporary detention and has not been convicted of anything but his salary has been cut off,” said the colleague who requested anonymity for security reasons.
“If he has not shown up for work, it’s the fault of others who forced this situation,” added the source. “If it’s because of his court case, he hasn’t been convicted and he could be acquitted.”
Habibi is due to go trial on July 23 at Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran for the charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state” and “disturbing public order”—all brought by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Habibi was arrested for peacefully advocating teachers’ rights in Iran. 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.
“He has been transferred from detention to the Great Tehran Penitentiary before the court has even issued a verdict, which is illegal,” Habibi’s colleague told CHRI. “The prison is [20 miles] outside of Tehran and his family has to set aside a whole day just to visit him.”
A teacher at a high school in Shahriar County in Tehran Province, Habibi was arrested by agents of the IRGC on March 3, 2018, and violently dragged away in front of his students.