By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:
Free at last: Justice for campaigner Mansour Osanloo
Friday 03 June 2011
Mansour Osanloo was jailed in July 2007 for his campaigning over workers’ rights.
A founding member of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, Mr Osanloo’s arrest caused an international outcry, leading to a vocal campaign for his release.
Speaking today after news of Mr Osanloo’s release broke, union leaders paid tribute to his bravery.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said that Mr Osanloo’s courage was “a beacon of hope for the people of Iran.
“We are delighted that Mansour has been released from prison,” he said.
“His release shows that international solidarity between workers can make a difference.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It has taken four long years but this is the justice that we have all been waiting for.
“Our hope is that his hard-won freedom will be not be threatened again. He must not be rearrested.”
But the general secretary warned that many more activists remain jailed in Iran and elsewhere merely for asserting their democratic rights.
Mr Prentis said: “Two of Mansour’s colleagues are still in captivity and our fight for their freedom and the liberty of all our brothers and sisters across the world will go on.”
Mr Osanloo’s release was also welcomed by the International Transport Workers Federation.
However the union noted that his freedom was conditional on his “good behaviour” and the payment of a bond.
ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “This is a great day for Mansour and his family – and for his fellow union members and those of us in the international trade union movement who are honoured to call him a friend.
“It’s doubly welcome given the deterioration of his health during his time behind bars.”
And Amnesty International, which has also campaigned for Mr Osanloo, expressed concern that the release was only temporary.
A spokesman said: “While it’s welcome that the Iranian authorities have finally recognised his urgent need for rest and medical treatment – itself largely due to the appalling prison conditions in which he has been held – the basic injustice of his detention remains.
“He has been imprisoned for almost four years because of his peaceful trade union activities, in denial of his rights to freedom of expression and association. This is part of a concerted campaign of repression being waged against himself and his union.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the fight would continue to secure rights for workers around the globe.
“Mansour’s release is a major victory for a global campaign of trade union solidarity.
“But there are many more independent trade union activists in Iran who are not yet free, and we will not give up the struggle until Iran’s workers can exercise freedom of association without fear of reprisals,” he said.
See also here.
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!: “In his latest article for The New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says the United States might attack Iran based on distorted estimates of Iran’s nuclear and military threat – just like it did with Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. Hersh reveals that despite using Iranian informants and cutting-edge surveillance technology, U.S. officials have been unable to find decisive evidence that Iran has been moving enriched uranium to an underground weapon-making center”: here.