It is with anger and great sorrow that EI has been informed of the death of Iranian teacher unionist Farzad Kamangar. Together with four other Kurdish political prisoners, Farzad was executed, in secret, on Sunday 9 May at Evin Prison in Tehran. EI wishes to express its solidarity with Farzad’s family, colleagues and students.
Farzad Kamangar, a 35-year-old teacher and member of the Teachers’ Trade Association of Kurdistan, was accused of "endangering national security" and "enmity against God". He had lived with the threat of the death penalty since February 2008, when it was imposed upon him after a sham trial that lasted less than five minutes. In prison, Farzad suffered torture and psychological pressure.
Although the Iranian authorities had accepted Farzad’s appeal, the case stalled when it should have been sent to the Supreme Court for review. After further delays, Farzad’s lawyer was told that his file had been lost. Despite the evident lack of independent inquiry into the allegations and the absence of a fair judicial process, Farzad has been reportedly executed.
Farzad’s case is particularly troubling to our 30 million members because of the opaque and secretive manner in which his trial was conducted, the lack of basic rights he had access to whilst in prison, and the fact that neither his family or legal representatives were informed of his execution.
The trade union and human rights community have campaigned against the death penalty and prosecution of Farzad. EI and its affiliates have also been particularly vocal with various bodies and governments. In 2009, following lobbying by EI the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association ‘urge[d] the Government [of Iran] to immediately stay the execution of Farzad Kamangar’s death sentence, annul his conviction and secure his release from detention.’
EI strongly condemns the execution of Farzad Kamangar and will continue to campaign on behalf of other teacher trade unionists in Iran. We are also seeking clarification about the process that led to Farzad’s execution.
The Co-ordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations (CCITTA), EI’s member organisation in Iran, has shared the following message with the EI secretariat:
“Thanks for the great support. I am sure Farzad could feel it because once when he called me from the prison he asked me to express his sincere appreciation to all the teachers around the world who supported him. I wish you could also feel how unique a teacher he was. It was the only reason of his execution. They were afraid of his personality, afraid he would become a hero”.
EI call for action:
EI calls on all its member organisations to join the campaign in memory of Farzad, and in support of other Iranian teachers and union activists, by writing to the Iranian authorities urging them to:
· Investigate the legality of the execution of Farzad Kamangar, and clarification about why his file was not reviewed by the Supreme Court in accordance with Iran’s national law;
· Ensure, in law and practice, all guarantees of due process of law established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the principle of presumption of innocence and elimination of torture and ill-treatment in prison;
· Respect and fully exercise the right to freedom of expression and the rights of association and assembly, as recommended by the Committee on Freedom of Association of the International Labour Organisation;
· Announce a moratorium on any further executions.
In your correspondence to the Iranian authorities, EI encourages you to request the release and fair trial for other teacher trade unionists who are currently detained. These include: Rasoul Bodaghi; Hashem Khastar; Bahman Goudarzzade and Abdolresa Ghanbari. EI is also concerned about the continued detention of Mansoor Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, leaders of the ITF-affiliated Tehran Bus Workers’ Union (Vahed Syndicate) and Ali Nejati, Chairman of the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Workers' Syndicate.
EI encourages you to send a copy of your letters to your own country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs asking them to follow up on your demands with the Iranian authorities.
Please also send your letters to the:
· President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Islamic Republic of Iran
· Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Islamic Republic of Iran
EI will also forward your condolences and messages of support to the CCITTAs.
I thank you in advance for your support.
Fred van Leeuwen