Sunday, October 14, 2007


International Transport Workers' Federation Rep. Visits Iran

“Test case” mission to Iran
11 October 2007

An ITF representative from Indonesia, who arrived in the Iranian capital earlier this week in a bid to meet with imprisoned trade unionist Mansour Osanloo, described the mission as a “test case” of relations between two Islamic states.

Hanafi Rustandi, Chair of the ITF’s national coordinating committee in Indonesia and President of the Indonesian seafarers’ union, the Kesatuan Pelaut Indonesia, first broached the subject of the mission with the Iranian Embassy in Jakarta during worldwide protests for Osanloo on 9 August.

Accompanied by Syukur Sarto, General Secretary of the FSPSI, an Indonesian trade union confederation, Rustandi had hoped to visit Osanloo, who is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, but this did not happen. However, during Hanafi’s visit, Osanloo was admitted to hospital for an urgent eye operation.

Osanloo’s detention is the latest move in a brutal two-year government campaign against him and other members of the Tehran bus workers’ union, Sandikaye Kargarane Sherkate Vahed.

The men were able to meet with the families of Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, Vice President of the union, and with relatives of Salehi of the Saqez Bakery Workers’ Association, both of whom have also been imprisoned. They were reported to be delighted that the plight of imprisoned union leaders has not been forgotten by the outside world.

Hanafi Rustandi described the mission as “a test case for the friendship between our two Muslim countries”. He added: “Iran should show its commitment to international labour standards and universal human rights. We hope this problem can be settled and Osanloo can be released due to the good ties between our two countries.”

David Cockroft, General Secretary of the ITF, which has, together with the International Trade Union Confederation, coordinated the global effort to protect Osanloo, Salehi and their unions, commented: “We hear that the arrival of the Indonesian delegation has helped underline just how much the eyes of the world are on Iran in this matter, and how the members of the Vahed Syndicate are asking why, if their Muslim brothers and sisters in Indonesia can have a free trade union, they can’t too.”

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