Iran: Mansour Osanloo admitted to a coronary care unit

Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Vahed Bus Company drivers, has serious health problems and yet the Iranian authorities show no mercy, treating him as if he were a dangerous criminal. He needs the solidarity of workers around the world.

Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Vahed Bus Company drivers, has been admitted to a coronary care unit (CCU) for treatment.

When Mansour Osanloo was recently allowed out of jail for an eye operation he was handcuffed and had his legs in chains. He was also accompanied by three armed agents. The agents wanted to handcuff him to the operating table during surgery.

When Osanloo and his family protested against this the agents said that the security police had ordered them to cuff Osanloo while he was in the operating theatre. Osanloo replied that he was not going to lie down on an operating table while handcuffed to it. He was not prepared to go through with the operation in this way and would return to jail. After a while the agents contacted their superiors and were forced to back down.

Then on Monday 9 June, because of Osanloo's heart problem, his condition took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to the CCU of Labafinejad Hospital. He is still there and his condition is described as critical. Despite this, four armed agents are in the CCU keeping a 24-hour watch over him. This has caused added stress and pressure on Osanloo and his family, as well as other patients and hospital staff.

Earlier that week an official medical examiner had issued a certificate which specified that because of Osanloo's physical condition, and the planned operations on his left eye, Osanloo was not able to tolerate any punishment and that he should have 'sick leave' for six weeks. Osanloo's family showed this certificate to Hassan Zareh-Dehnavi, the judge who is charge of all political prisoners' cases in Tehran province, and asked that he acts on its recommendation. But Hassan Zareh-Dehnavi relied: "We will not give him sick leave. When he's in jail we have peace of mind and the workers don't gather around him." This judge later ordered the official medical examiner to not issue any kind of medical certificate, since this is a matter for specialists and should be issued on the basis of a medical consultant's opinion.

On Tuesday and Wednesday [10-11 June] Osanloo's elderly mother went to the office of judge Zareh-Dehnavi to ask for 'sick leave' for her son. On both occasions he was not prepared to see her.

Once Osanloo had returned from London, where he had had meetings with various labour organisations and trade unions, he was arrested and imprisoned in wing no. 209 of Evin jail. His interrogators have been hitting him on the head and other sensitive parts and have damaged the cornea of his eye. They kept asking him why he had returned from London. Because of this type of treatment he was in the prison infirmary for some time before being admitted to hospital. On top of eye and heart problems Mansour Osanloo also has a skin condition.

The beatings and hardship that Mansour Osanloo has experienced while in prison are standard practice for political prisoners and labour activists (Mahmoud Salehi was also handcuffed to the operating table when in hospital). Osanloo has always maintained that he and the Vahed Bus Company Trade Union do not have any political demands. They just want better pay and working conditions.

Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network condemns the way labour activists and leaders are treated in such harsh ways. We call on trade unionists and labour activists everywhere to send emails protesting against Osanloo's harsh treatment as a punishment for attempting to re-launch the Vahed trade union and demanding decent pay and conditions for his workmates.

Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
24 June 2008

London WC1N 3XX,

[Source: A statement by Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, 14 June 2008]

For further news on Mansour Osanloo and the Vahed Bus Company drivers' struggles, and how you can help, see the special section.