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Two Haft Tapeh Sugar Leaders Still Facing Lengthy Prison Terms in Iran - Act Now!

Posted to the IUF website 15-Sep-2009

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Three of the leaders of the Haft Tapeh sugarworkers' union in Iran sentenced to prison earlier this year have had their sentences overturned on appeal.

However, Union president Ali Nejati and communications officer Reza Rekhshan still face prison sentences while their appeal process drags on - and their imprisonment would be a severe blow to the sugarworkers' struggle for an independent union. The charges against Rekhshan include providing information to foreign trade unionists on the horrendous working conditions at Haft Tapeh.

Ali Nejati has been denied work at Haft Tapeh since his April release from over a month's solitary confinement in an Intelligence detention center. Nejati has been generally blacklisted from all work in the city of Shush and the situation for him and his family is becoming increasingly desperate.

Thousands of trade union rights supporters around the world have protested the repression against the Haft Tapeh union and its leaders. Ali Nejati was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International following the Haft Tapeh court convictions. International protests presumably played a role in influencing the decision of the appeals court to dismiss the ludicrous charges including "undermining national security."

Pressure is now urgently needed on the Iranian authorities to overturn the convictions of Ali Nejati and Reza Rekhshan - CLICK HERE to send a message to the Iranian state and judicial authorities, calling on them to immediately and unconditionally annul the sentences against the Haft Tapeh unionists and immediately reinstate Ali Nejati at his job! Some intended recipients' messages may be rejected due to server overload - others will get through, however.

You can also send a message to the Iranian embassy or diplomatic representation in your country - or pay them a visit! A complete list of embassies/consulates is available here, and you can generally find e-mail addresses by searching the internet for the individual representation in your country.

Since September 9 over 500 workers have been on strike at Haft Tapeh demanding the restoration of the monthly overtime which management has cut from 120 to 40 hours. So low is the base wage that workers have to put in up to 120 additional hours per month to ensure minimal survival for themselves and their families. Cutters harvesting cane by hand in blistering heat work 6 months out of the year alternating with 6 months unemployment without compensation.