On May 21, 2009 at the invitation of the Committee on Arbitrary Arrests, a group of political, cultural and social activists went to the home of Hassan Shafa a worker’s rights activist and member of the “Housing, Metal Worker and Mechanics Cooperative” who is currently in detention, to find out more about his status as well as the status of other worker’s rights activists recently arrested. According to the site of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, those present at this visit expressed their objection to the lack of response from officials about the status of arrested members of the “Housing, Metal Worker and Mechanics Cooperative.” Family members of those arrested informed those present at the home of Hassan Shafa that they had been following up on the case of their detained loved ones on a daily basis, by going to the Revolutionary Courts, as well as to the Parliament, and the Office on Citizen’s Rights at the Judiciary, but have yet to receive any satisfactory response from officials. As such, they have requested that judiciary officials observe due process and fair judicial standards with respect to the case of the arrested individuals. The lack of response by officials in providing explanations as to the reason for the arrest of the members of this Cooperative as well as to the repeated inquiries of family members about the status of their loved ones has also raised international outcry.
In a letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi, the Head of the Judiciary, the family members of the arrested members of the Cooperative have requested that the situation of their loved ones in detention be clarified and that those arrested be provided the right to meet with their lawyers while in detention.
Hassan Shafa and fourteen other members of the “Housing, Metal Work and Mechanics Cooperative” had gathered together at the offices of the Cooperative in Nemat Abad on May 1, 2009 for a meeting on the status of Mehr Housing Cooperative, when they were arrested.
May 1, which is the International Workers Day, was commemorated in Iran this year with the mass arrest of worker’s rights activists. Additionally scores of workers who had gone to Laleh Park with their family members to take part in a peaceful protest were arrested in a violent crackdown, prior to the start of the planned protest.
Those political, cultural and social activists present at the home of Hassan Shafa on Friday morning, expressed concern about the mass arrests of worker’s rights activists on the verge of tenth round of presidential elections. In light of the upcoming elections they have requested that presidential candidates define their position in this respect. Further those present at this gathering expressed their criticism about delays and the manner in which the cases of those arrested had been handled by the courts, adding that further cause for concern was the fact that telephone contact of those detained with their family members had ceased. The political, cultural and social activists who had gathered at the invitation of the Committee on Arbitrary Arrests further expressed concern about the lack of news coverage on the status of those arrested and the prevention of news coverage on this issue by some officials. These individuals strongly urged the press to pay greater attention to this issue and the status of the worker’s rights activists arrested on May 1, 2009.
Members of the “Housing, Metal Works and Mechanics Cooperative” who were arrested during a meeting at the headquarters of the Cooperative on May 1, 2009 include: Mohammad Gilani, Abdullah Vatan-Khah, Aziz Mohammadi, Sattar Amini, Nabi Maroufi, Assadollah Eghbali, Hossein Akbari, Hassan Shafa, Hamid Sharghi, Jamshid Rajabi, Davood Mirzaee, Mostafa Hatami, Mr. Nodehi, Nasser Ebrahimi, and Aziz Yari. Given that some of these individuals are older and suffer from illness, or whose spouses need to be cared for due to illnesses they suffer from, those present at the gathering at the home of Hassan Shafa urged officials to take steps to immediately release these individuals as well as others who are currently in prison because of trade and union related activities, or who are imprisoned because of their political or other beliefs.