Sep 16, 2015

Southern Azerbaijan: Labour Activist Found Dead in his Prison Cell

On 13 September 2015, Mr Shahrokh Zamani, a labour activist who was serving the fifth year of his eleven-year term in Rajaishahr Prison, was found dead in his cell, reportedly having suffered a severe brain stroke. His funeral took place on Tuesday in Tabriz, the capital city of East Azerbaijan, where large number of representatives of labour organizations and syndicates, including the Free Trade Union of Workers in Iran, attended and delivered a condemning joint statement. Accusing the authorities for Mr Zamani’s unfair and unmerited conviction, the statement further stressed the legitimacy of his labour activism on behalf of independent workers. 

Below is an article by
Radio Zamaneh

A funeral was held in Tabriz on Tuesday [15 September 2015] for Shahrokh Zamani, the labour activist who died in prison.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that security forces were present at the funeral; however, the ceremony concluded without any disruptions.

Zamani was serving the fifth year of his sentence in Rejaishahr Prison and reportedly had not been given a single day of furlough. On Sunday September 13, he was found dead in his cell, and reports indicate he suffered a brain stroke.

A number of labour activists and representatives of various labour organizations attended the funeral, including the Free Trade Union of Workers in Iran, the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Syndicate and the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran Province Painters, and a joint statement was read out on behalf of all the labour groups.

The statement emphasized Zamani’s legitimate labour activism on behalf of independent workers and it accused the authorities of causing his death with an unjust sentence.

Zamani’s family reports that an autopsy was performed on his body and the results will be announced next month.

Zamani, who was an executive member of the Committee for the Establishment of Independent Trade Unions for Construction Workers and Painters, was arrested in June of 2011 and sentenced to 11 years in jail. He was charged with participation in anti-regime groups, collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime.

He had gone on several lengthy hunger strikes during his incarceration to protest poor prison conditions. He was also denied permission to attend his daughter’s wedding and mother’s funeral, and since his hometown of Tabriz is so far away, his family could not pay him regular visits at Rejaishahr Prison in Karaj.