Iran: Martial law in Shush city and widespread arrest of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers

According to reports received from Shush city, the order to arrest the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers was issued last night. At present the city is in a state of undeclared martial law.

Last night crowds of special guard units from the cities of Khoramabad, Ahvaz and Dezful poured into Shush. These forces came into the city in the coaches and pickup trucks of the special guard units and have taken positions in various parts of the city, including the city centre, the bazaar, near the Governor General's office and the main streets and thoroughfares of the city. The special guard units have also taken positions on roads entering the city, and as soon as they notice any workers trying to enter the city, they arrest them and take them to an undisclosed place.

From this morning the Information Ministry and police forces began the widespread arrest of workers throughout the city. Until now dozens of workers have been arrested. These include Rahim Besagh, Kourosh Bahmani from the grinding and polishing section of the company, Mehran Akbari and Ali Shahbazi.

At present there is a chaotic situation in the city. Despite this atmosphere of intimidation and fear, the workers are still in the city and plan to continue with their demonstrations until their demands have been met.

According to reliable information that has reached the workers, the Governor General of Shush has issued the order for smashing the workers' protests and is personally supervising the way this repression is being carried out.

The demands of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers are as follows:

  • Payment of three months' unpaid wages.
  • An end to the gathering of legal dossiers and summoning workers to court.
  • Sacking the general manager of the company, a mollah named Yaghoob Shafiee, and the whole management committee.
  • Sacking the security chief of the company, a person named Zibdari, who has had a direct role in the beating, spying and gathering of dossiers on workers.

We must keep up the pressure on the management of this state-owned company and the Iranian government to stop the repression, to accept all the workers' demands and to drop all charges against them.

Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
21 May 2008

[Source: Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran]

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Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
London WC1N 3XX.

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