#Human Rights
Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament

Iranian teacher and labor activist Mehdi Farahi Shandiz was arrested in the first week of Januar, 2012 to serve a three-year jail term.

Mr. Shandiz had been previously detained on May 1, 2010 and had spent more than eight months in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison before being released on January 26, 2011.

Intelligence Ministry agents have arrested the 51-year-old teacher and labour activist Shandiz numerous times before.

While the ostensible basis for the conviction and prison sentence of Mr. Shandiz remain unclear, the fact that is that he is doubly vulnerable to persecution at the hands of the Islamic Republic regime's war against Iran's civil society by simple virtue of being both a teacher and a labor activist.

As for as labor activists are concerned, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has called for urgent action regarding the arrests of and acts of harassment against several Iranian trade unionists, including Shandiz, Shahrokh Zamani, Mohammad Jarrahi, Nima Pouryaghoub, Sassan Vahebivash, Sheys Amani, Sadiq Karimi, Sharif Sa’ed-Panah, Mozaffar Salehnia, Maysam Nejati-Aref, Ebrahim Madadi, Reza Shahabi, Mohammad Hosseini and Mehdi Farahi Shandiz.

As far as the plight of teachers, Zamaneh has recently reported:

Iran’s “Campaign to Support Jailed Teachers” has issued an announcement in protest against the “worrying situation” of teachers in Iran’s prisons.

Zamaneh reports that the Campaign made its announcement at the start of the academic year and in the run-up to World Teachers’ Day, aiming to be the voice of incarcerated teachers in Iran and rallying the public to demonstrate against how teachers are treated in the country.

The announcement calls on the Islamic Republic to heed the demands of teachers and urges all civil activists to become in every way possible the voice of “jailed teachers” between September 20 and October 5, World Teachers’ Day.

While pointing out the arrest of many teachers and the execution of Farzad Kamangar in 2010, the Campaign adds that many teachers are also being subjected to expulsion and exile, and being denied the right to participate in union activities.

In addition to the stated political persecution, the statement also indicates that many teachers in the provinces will be facing cuts to their salaries in the coming year, while nowhere in the country will educators be granted a raise.

Following the 2009 presidential elections, the government began a widespread crackdown on civil and political activists all across the country. Teachers have been one of the chief targets of government pressure including arrests, interrogations and prison sentences.

Names of some of the jailed Iranian teachers are: Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Rasoul Badaghi, Abdolreza Ghanbari, Mohammad Davari, Abdollah Momeni, Ali Poursoleiman, Hashem Shabaninejad, and Hadi Rashedi.

We the undersigned demand that the international community bring all possible pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Mehdi Farahi Shandiz and all other imprisoned teachers and labor activists, as well as all other prisoners of conscience in Iran.

We call attention to the fact that the imprisonment of so many teachers and labor activists, like the imprisonment of so many human rights lawyers and journalists, is part of the Islamic Republic regime's on-going dirty war against Iran's emerging civil society. The global community must not remain neutral.

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The Free Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, Iranian Teacher And Labor Activist petition to Ahmed Shaheed, UN, UNHCHR, State Department, EU, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, European Parliament was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.