Education International (EI) has launched a new LabourStart campaign to request the immediate and unconditional release of Esmail Abdi and the respect of trade union rights in Iran.

Denied the extension of his furlough despite his poor health resulting from harsh detention conditions, Tehran teacher union leader Esmail Abdi was taken back to the Evin prison on 20 January.

Esmail Abdi had been released on furlough on 9 January, a temporary reprieve from his six-year sentence which started in 2016. While welcoming this release, EI was aware that Abdi could be rearrested any moment, as it already happened last year, when he was released on bail on 25 June only to be recalled to prison one month later. This time, Abdi’s furlough lasted 11 days.

Abdi’s initial arrest happened in connection with his union activities for teachers’ rights and to prevent his participation in the 2015 EI World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. Abdi was targeted for his union activism and campaign for free and accessible public education for all.

He was convicted of national security offences in February 2016, after organising peaceful protests. During his incarceration in Evin Prison, reports indicated that Abdi had been kept in harsh detention conditions and denied communication with his family and lawyer.

Education International reiterates a global solidarity call in support of Abdi and other detained Iranian unionists.

EI invites your organisation and its members to take action now:

  • Petition the authorities through the LabourStart campaign;

  • Contact your Government and the diplomatic representation of Iran in your country, requesting that they begin a dialogue on these issues with the Iranian authorities;

  • Give visibility to the LabourStart petition through social media.