Four labour activists in Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan, have been sentenced to be flogged and imprisoned for defending workers' rights. On 5 August the 101st branch of the criminal court in Sanandaj sentenced the four to this brutal, barbaric and medieval form of punishment because they had taken part in this year's May Day celebrations in the city.
The court sentences Ms Susan Razani to receive 70 lashes and be jailed for nine months; Ms Shiva Kheyrabadi 15 lashes and four months; Abdollah Khani (Abeh Nejar) 40 lashes and 91 days; and Seyyed Ghaleb Hosseini 50 lashes and six months in prison. The defendants have 20 days to lodge an appeal with the Kurdistan province court.
The Iranian regime is not carrying out this policy from a position of strength. The whipping of workers is a desperate attempt by the regime to dampen the combativity and high morale of the workers who, despite having any legal trade union rights and suffering from the crippling economic situation, continue to fight for their rights.
Weeks before May Day the authorities began a campaign of intimidation and terror against the new labour movement so that this year's rallies and celebrations would not be as big and radical as those in 2007. As part of this they began whipping workers for the first time (flogging of women's right activists stretches back to 1981 and the consolidation of the Islamic regime). In February 2008 three labour activists were flogged and a further eight were sentenced to receive the lash as well.
Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
19 August 2008