Trade Unionist Mansour Ossanlu, age 49, is the leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (Syndica Sherkat-e Vahed). He has been peacefully working to obtain better conditions for workers in Iran and to end discriminatory laws and practices that curtail workers’ rights in Iran. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “acts against national security” and “propaganda against the system.” He had been previously arrested and detained several times for his peaceful labor activism and severely beaten in custody, causing damage to his retinas. He is currently serving his term in a prison for violent criminals and has been mistreated by staff and other inmates. He suffers from several severe health problems, but has not received necessary medical treatment.
Mansour Ossanlu is one of Amnesty International’s 10 priority cases who you can help free by participating in our Global Write-a-thon running from December 5-13. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience who is being detained on vaguely worded charges in order to halt his efforts to build strong trades unions capable of defending the human rights of workers.
Placing pressure on the Iranian authorities to release Mansour Ossanlu and allow Iran’s vibrant civil society activists to exercise their human rights, could be especially effective now. Iran is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Article 22 (1) states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” Article 26 of Iran’s Constitution states: “The formation of parties, societies, political or professional associations…is permitted provided they do not violate the principles of independence, freedom, national unity, the criteria of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic republic. No one may be prevented from participating in the aforementioned groups, or be compelled to participate in them.”
Mansour Ossanlu is in prison in defiance of both international as well as Iranian laws. With your help, Amnesty International will campaign for his immediate release in our Global Write-a-thon.
By Elise Auerbach, Iran and Jordan country specialist for AIUSA