14 March 2012: The Global March Against Child Labour with Education International (EI) and International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) at the cornerstone of its existence earnestly appeals all its members, partners and supporters to request the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to stay the execution of Professor Abdolreza Ghanbari, a university lecturer, who has been sentenced to death for ‘enmity towards God’.
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labour expressing grave concern over the attack on teachers, their unions and other human right defenders requests the leaders of Iran to stay the execution of Prof. Abdolreza Ghanbari and revoke his death sentence at the earliest.
About Professor Abdolreza Ghanbari’s case
Abdolreza Ghanbari, a 44-year-old lecturer of Payam e Nour University, was arrested at his home in Pakdasht on 4 January 2010. He was charged with ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity towards God) for receiving unsolicited emails from an armed opposition group, to which he does not belong. While in detention at the notorious Evin Prison, Prof. Ghanbari was interrogated for 25 days in a row and forced to confess under duress to unproven charges. Nasrin Sotoudeh was his lawyer until he was himself condemned to a six year sentence in Evin Prison for ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘acting against national security’.
In 2007, Prof. Ghanbari had already been detained for 120 days and sentenced to a six-month suspension from teaching and exiled from Sari to Pakdasht. Prof. Ghanbari has no known political connections. He was previously involved in teacher union activities until his union ITTA was dissolved in 2007.
Prof. Ghanbari’s death sentence was confirmed by Tehran's Appeal Court, Branch 36 in April 2010. He has since been waiting on death row. A request for pardon was rejected on February 28 by the Commission of Justice in Tehran. It means that authorities are allowed to proceed with the execution.
What has happened so far?
EI and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have requested a direct intervention of the Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to request that Iran annul the death penalties for trade unionists.
EI has continued, with its affiliate in Iran, CCITTA, to inform the international community about the denial of union rights for public teachers. Together allegations were submitted to the UN ECOSOC International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as to the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. In December, in resolution 66/175 adopted by 89 member states (30 votes against, 64 abstentions), the UN voiced deep concern at Iran’s “serious on-going systematic restrictions of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression”.
EI has requested the Iranian authorities to cease putting state pressure on trade unions and to release detained union activists, as well as to formally acknowledge the legitimacy of the Coordinating Council of ITTAs. EI has specifically raised concerns about the detention of teacher unionists Abdolreza Ghanbari and Rasoul Bodaghi. A number of detained teacher unionists have been released on bail in December 2011.
EI has also continued to engage in the international campaign ’Justice for Iranian Workers’ which is a network of trade union rights activists from the Global Unions and Amnesty International. EI also shared information with the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR).
What you can do in your individual capacities:
In addition to signing the appeal, you can write your own emails directly to the leaders of Iran:
Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic: email@example.com
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: firstname.lastname@example.org
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran: email@example.com
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, Head of the Judiciary: firstname.lastname@example.org
The major demands are:
Stay the execution of Prof. Abdolreza Ghanbari and revoke the death sentence
Drop all charges against all detained trade unionists and release them immediately
Compensate the individuals for the damages suffered as result of detentions
Register the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) and allow it to hold trade union activities and reach out to members
Stop the harassment and repression against teachers, unionists and human rights defenders;
Comply with the international labour standards and respect the rights of Iranian workers to freedom of association, assembly and expression
Engage in a peaceful dialogue regarding the professional concerns of teachers in Iran.
Please take action now - send a message to the government of Iran to stop the execution: