Esmail Abdi.
Esmail Abdi.

Iranian teacher unionist Esmail Abdi sent back to prison

published 22 January 2018 updated 4 March 2022

Denied the extension of his furlough despite his poor health resulting from harsh detention conditions, Tehran teacher union leader Esmail Abdi was taken back to the Evin prison on 20 January.

Esmail Abdi had been released on furlough on 9 January, a temporary reprieve from his six-year sentence which started in 2016. While welcoming this release, Education International (EI) was aware that Abdi could be rearrested any moment, as it already happened last year, when he was released on bail on 25 June only to be recalled to prison one month later. This time, Abdi’s furlough lasted 11 days.

Targeted for union activism

Abdi’s initial arrest happened in connection with his union activities for teachers’ rights and to prevent his participation in the 2015 EI World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. Abdi was targeted for his union activism and campaign for free and accessible public education for all. He was convicted of national security offences in February 2016, after organising peaceful protests. During his incarceration in Evin Prison, reports indicated that Abdi had been kept in harsh detention conditions and denied communication with his family and lawyer.

Global campaigns in solidarity with Abdi

Education International reiterates a global solidarity call in support of Abdi and other detained Iranian unionists. All EI affiliates and their individual members are strongly invited to sign the new appeal launched on LabourStart calling for Abdi’s unconditional release.

Education International also reminds affiliates to support Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights” appeal for Abdi by clicking here. It demands that the government lifts all sanctions against education unionists for their legitimate trade union activities, and respects fundamental human and trade unions rights for all workers and public servants.