A Labour Activist Involved in the Haft Tappeh Protests is Hospitalized After Suffering Abuse in Regime Custody
The Haft Tappeh sugar factory workers have been on strike for over two weeks. What started as a protest over unpaid wages and the forced privatization of the company, quickly took on a more pressing note when 19 of their peers were arrested by the regime.
Although most were released, several labor activists remained in regime custody, including Ismael Bakhshi. As soon as Bakhshi was arrested, the protestors marched on the municipal buildings in Ahvaz and called for his immediate release, reports from MEK network inside indicates. However, as the protestors feared, the latest reports indicate Bakhshi is in a bad way.
The Subject of Torture
Iran News Wire reported that sources have revealed Bakhshi has been transferred to a local hospital after suffering barbaric abuse at the hands of regime agents.
Although few details are known, it is suspected that Bakshi was beaten and sustained injuries to the face and head. He is also thought to be suffering from internal bleeding after the ordeal.
The brave workers gathered again today in Shush to call for their colleague’s release. The crowd chanted, “detained worker must be released!”
There are also reports that further arrests have been made in connection to the protest. Ali Nejati’s home was raided by regime security forces and he was taken into custody. Eyewitness reports state that Nejati demanded to see their warrant for the raid, but the agents on the scene were unable to produce legal documents authorizing the raid.
In the course of the raid, they beat Ali Nejati and his defenseless family. His son, Peiman Nejati was also arrested.
Those close to the family are concerned. Ali suffers from a heart condition and was reportedly unwell during the time of the arrest.
The CEO Called an End to the Strike
The arrests and beatings came on the same day the Haft Tappeh CEO send a video message to the protestors, urging them to end their protests.
Omid Asadbeigi, the CEO of Haft Tappeh, appeared next to a photo of the Supreme Leader Khamenei and a large Islamic Republic flag and echoed the regime’s demands to end the strike.
He told the workers that their strike was causing “numerous problems for the factory”. He also reiterated that the factory would not be returned to the public sector. “It will remain private”, he said.
“I deem it necessary to immediately put an end to these rumors”, he added.
The whereabouts of Omid Asadbeigi remains a mystery. Some elements of the regime have asserted that he is a wanted man and is facing charges of misconduct. Other elements have reported that he is in regime custody.
Support from the MEK
The striking workers may take solace in the knowledge that they have the support of the Iranian people and the opposition movement.
The People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and the president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi have issued statements of support for the Haft Tappeh workers.
Hail to the striking sugarcane workers of Haft Tappeh and Steel workers of #Ahvaz who have risen up to obtain their rights and free their imprisoned co-workers. I call on #Iran’s youth to rise to their aid.#IranProtests #FreeIran2018#IranRegimeChange
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) November 29, 2018
Maryam Rajavi published a statement on her Twitter account which read, “the enemy tries in vain to silence the voice of the deprived workers of Haft Tappeh through arrests and suppression”.
The MEK has called on Iran’s youth and the public to help the sugarcane workers in any capacity they can and stand with them in solidarity against the mullahs’ violent clerical regime.