Iran: Labour rights defenders arrested, allege torture for protesting unpaid wages at Haft Tapeh sugar factory

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23 January 2019

Iran: Labour rights activists at imminent risk of further torture

Author: Amnesty International

Two labour rights activists who were rearrested after speaking out about beatings and other abuse they suffered in detention last year are at grave risk of further torture, Amnesty International has warned...“There are real fears that Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian could be facing a second round of torture after their rearrest. The timing of their arrest strongly suggests it is part of a sinister attempt to silence and punish them for speaking out about the horrific abuse they suffered in custody...", said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International...The activists were first arrested on 18 November 2018 after participating in a peaceful gathering in front of the governor's office in Shush, Khuzestan, and seeking to meet with officials to discuss the unpaid wages of several thousand workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar cane industrial complex.

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21 January 2019

Iran arrests labor protest leader

Author: Arab News

An Iranian labor protest leader has been arrested for the second time, state media reported Monday, after the judiciary denied his claim that he was tortured in custody late last year...[Esmail] Bakhshi was one of the organizers of weeks of protests at the Haft Tapeh sugar factory in the city of Shush in November and December, over unpaid wages and alleged criminal activity by new private owners...State TV on Saturday broadcast a program claiming that Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian, another activist who supported the Haft Tapeh strikers, had connections with Europe-based activists who “aim to topple the state”...Both Bakhshi and Gholian were detained last year during the protests...Gholian was also arrested Sunday...Iran saw multiple strikes and protests last year over working conditions in key sectors including steel, education, mining and transport...The Haft Tapeh protests ended in late December, with the workers being paid and the factory re-opening.

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