Iran: transport union leader “kidnapped”

From the International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI), July 10:

Mansour Osanloo, the president of the board of directors of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, was kidnapped by plain clothes agents in the evening of Tuesday, July 10, 2007.

According to the information the IASWI has received from the activists of the Syndicate in Iran , Mansour Osanloo was stopped today around 7:00 p.m. while he was returning home by a public transit bus in Tehran . While he was getting off the bus a Peugeot car stopped the bus and unidentified plain clothes agents attacked him and started beating him up so severely while yelling and insulting and telling people that he was a thief! Osanloo tried to identify himself as the president of the union for the witnesses in order to get help but the agents did not allow him and made a lot of noises while yelling and telling witnesses that they were arresting a thief. A couple of times in recent months, Oanloo was able to free himself from these types of attacks because people had rushed to his help but this time the agents who had been following him did not give him any chance. The agents finally forced Mr. Osanloo into the car and drove away.

It is not clear, as of this time, where Mr. Osanloo has been taken to. Witnesses of the kidnapping have gone to the police station along with the union activists to report the incident. The uniformed police officers have been dispatched to Osanlooƭs home to ƬinvestigateƮ the matter.

The Syndicate is an affiliate of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). The ITF has issued a statement, in which it reports, “While on his way home, Osanloo was getting off a bus, when he was assaulted by the unidentified kidnappers, who yelled at the passengers to stay away and called him a ‘hoodlum and a thug’. They then forced him into the unmarked Peugeot which then drove away. The witnesses on the bus stated that he was beaten severely, and his attackers continued to beat him even after they had stuffed him into the metallic grey Peugeot. Given the past history of Osanloo’s treatment by the security forces there is strong reason to believe that some part of the Iranian authorities was responsible for this attack but the local police station, to which his family turned, refused to confirm or deny that the police were involved.”

The ITF has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Osanloo.

On November 19, 2006, Osanloo was similarly beaten and kidnapped and later was transferred to the notorious Evin prison. After enduring one month of detention, Osanloo was released from section 209 of the Evin Prison on December 19, 2006. Prior to that, Osanloo had been in prison since December 22nd, 2005 for about 8 months until he was released on bail on Augusts 9, 2006. In May 2007, Tehran revolutionary Court, Branch 14, issued a prison sentence of five years against Mr. Osanloo, but his lawyer had filed an appeal and his case was in process.

It is important to emphasize that the details of information about Osanloo’s kidnapping are not thoroughly clear at this time, but what is certain is that the attackers are the agents of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, either from intelligent services or other sections. A couple of days before, Ebrahim Madadi, the union’s vice president, was arrested by uniformed police officers but freed a day after without charges following union protest, but the manner in which Osanloo was kidnapped today is absolutely appalling and alarming as well. There is a new wave of suppression in Iran against labour activists as well as women’s rights activists and students. Just yesterday armed security forces attacked protesting students at Amir Kabir University in Tehran and arrested 6 students. The security forces told residents in surrounding neighbourhoods who had heard gun shots that they were attacking narcotics traffickers! Mahmoud Salehi, who has been jailed in SanandajĆ­s prison since April 9, 2007, has been purposefully denied life-saving medical treatments and as the result his life is presently at risk.

See our last posts on Iran and labor struggles in the Islamic Republic.