IRAN: Teacher Union Leader Esmail Abdi on Hunger Strike

published 19 May 2017 updated 4 March 2022

Education International (EI) reiterates its global solidarity call to request the immediate and unconditional release of Esmail Abdi, a leader of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association, who was sentenced to six years in jail on false charges by Branch 36 of the Appeals Court of Tehran last October.

On 30 April, Abdi started a hunger strike to protest the continued, unlawful repression of teachers and human rights defenders and the lack of independence of the judiciary in Iran. The hunger strike is taking a toll on Abdi’s health, and may put his life in danger. Abdi has already lost a lot of weight and is suffering from hypertension and dizziness. As prison authorities have not reacted so far, Abdi is determined to continue.

Reports also show that Abdi is kept in harsh detention conditions in the notorious Evin prison. He was recently transferred to a new prison ward where he is denied communication with his family and lawyer.

Esmail Abdi has been targeted by the Iranian authorities for his union activism and campaign for free and accessible public education for all. EI and union partners have demanded that the government lift all sanctions taken against education unionists for their legitimate trade union activities, and that it respect fundamental human and trade unions rights for all workers and public servants.

For more background information, please read this article.

EI invites you to take action now:

  • Send a protest letter to the Iranian Presidency (a model letter is attached);
  • Contact your Government and the diplomatic representation of Iran in your country, requesting that they begin a dialogue on these issues with the Iranian authorities;
  • Individual members can petition the authorities through the LabourStart appeal;
  • Give visibility to this appeal by recommending it to your colleagues, union members and your networks; post it on your website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

EI thanks you for your solidarity in support of our Iranian colleagues.