Iranian labor activist Reza Shahabi has begun a prison hunger strike in protest of his undetermined judicial status. The Vahed Company Workers Union website reports that Shahabi has been detained for more than 15 months, and so far the authorities have kept his case in limbo. Shahabi is reportedly suffering from grave ailments in his spine and kidneys. The Jaras opposition website reports that Shahabi’s absence has put his wife and children in financial difficulty, and all their efforts to follow up on his case with the authorities have failed.
Shahabi, who was the treasurer of the Vahed Workers Union, was arrested in June of 2010 and interrogated for more than six months in Evin Prison. He had been involved in a drivers’ strike at Vahed Company six years ago, which led to his suspension from work. A few weeks before his arrest last year, the Labor Bureau had voted to reinstate him and allowed him to return to work. Human rights defenders in Iran have repeatedly denounced Shahabi’s treatment and called for his release. (Radio Zamaneh, Nov. 25)