Iranian MPs: No to the repression and arrest of journalists, activists and trade unionists

Led by MP Parvaneh Salahshouri, Majlis members appealed to the head of the judiciary to demand an end to arbitrary arrests and convictions. Among the recent convictions are reporter Marzieh Amiri and trade unionist Atefeh Rangriz. In Article 27 the Iranian Constitution enshrines civil and speech freedoms.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - In an intervention in the Iranian Parliament, the deputy Parvaneh Salahshouri (in the photo) strongly criticized the recent waves of repression against activists, journalists and trade unionists in defense of workers' rights that led to a series of arrests. And together with other colleagues in the Majlis she appealed to the new head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raisi, to apply the rule of law and guarantee freedom of speech for all citizens.

The group of parliamentarians invokes, as a first step, the cancellation of the recent sentences against various leading civil society figures, including journalists and activists arrested during Labor Day on May 1st. "Right now - stressed Salahshouri, reformist and former leader of the female component in Parliament - there are young women in prison who call for justice".

Speaking to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, the political leader recalls that Article 27 of the Constitution establishes civil and speech freedoms; however, "many people were imprisoned for making union demands during a protest near the Parliament" on the international day celebrating workers’ rights. "Some of the arrested women - she said - have been released, but a substantial number still languish in jail cells".

One of the most recent arrests is that of the journalist Marzieh Amiri, reporter of the reformist newspaper Shargh, who will have to serve 10.5 years in prison and suffer 148 lashes. She is accused of assembly and collusion against national security, disturbance of public peace and propaganda against the state.

The story of Atefeh Rangriz, labor rights activist, sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison and 74 lashes following her arrest on May 1st last, is similar. Together with her, Neda Naji was arrested, who is currently locked up in Evin prison, on the outskirts of the capital, awaiting trial.

"I launch an appeal to the ministers of intelligence and justice - the parliamentary concluded - as well as the head of the judiciary, to show Islamic mercy towards these people who, in their youthful passion, have promoted protests".

In her speech, the reformist leader recalled the words of Ebrahim Raisi during the inauguration ceremony, on March 11, at the hands of the great ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The head of the judiciary had stressed public concern about arbitrary arrests and convictions for peaceful protest or dissent. However, despite his words the head of the judiciary [belonging to the faction of conservative religious], a former member of the "death commissions" who ordered the extrajudicial murder of thousands of prisoners in 1988, did nothing to change the situation.

In the aftermath of his speech at the Majlis, the deputy, along with 14 other colleagues, sent a letter to Raisi reminding him that peaceful participation in public meetings or demonstrations does not in itself constitute a crime. Among the signatories of the letter there are also Tayebeh Siavashi, Hamideh Zarabadi, Mahmoud Sadeghi, Elias Hazrati, Gholamreza Heydari, Ali Nobakht, Ghasem Mirzaie Nikoo, Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh, Mostafa Kavakebian, Farajollah Rajabi, Mohammad Reza Tabesh, Bahram Parsaie, Alireza Rahimi and independent Ali Motahari.