Iranian government continues persecuting son of teacher trade unionists

published 22 October 2009 updated 22 October 2009

Sajad Khaksari, the son of two of Iran’s leading teacher trade unionists, remains in prison in Tehran even though he has been acquitted on all three charges against him.

The son of Mohamad Khaksari and Soraya Darabi, who are both leaders of the Iran Teacher Trade Association (ITTA), Sajad has faced persistent harassment and numerous detentions since 2006, when he was first arrested for his writings in the union magazine entitled “Teachers’ Pen.” He was later re-arrested for taking photographs of a government building, and was most recently detained 26 April 2009 during a teachers’ gathering in front of the Parliament.

He was tried by the Revolutionary Court, Branch 22, on 6 June and was acquitted of all three charges laid against him. In addition, the Court of Appeal commuted a 6-month prison sentence handed down for his first arrest.

However, Sajad’s situation changed for the worse after the controversial 12 June presidential elections and the subsequent mass demonstrations and social upheaval. On 22 June, his lawyer was told that the prosecutor had ordered the court to send Sajad’s file to a different branch of the Revolutionary Court. He was subsequently re-tried, without his lawyer even being present, and sentenced to one year in prison for the same charges of which he had already been aquitted!

That new sentence was appealed, and Sajad was once again acquitted on two of three charges. The final one is yet to be heard by a public court in Tehran. His parents continue to hope that it will be the final chapter in a long story of legal harassment and persecution which they believe comes as a direct consequence of their union activities.

EI has written to the Iranian Embassy in Belgium and to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad requesting the immediate and unconditional release of Sajad Khaksari and the withdrawal of all charges against him. EI will also continue to demand the release of Rasoul Bodaghi, Hashem Khastar, Jafar Ebrahimi, Mohammadreza Rezaiee, and Farzad Kamangar, other teacher trade unionists imprisioned in Iran.