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Iranian Teacher Unionist Still Alive

Iranian Teacher Unionist Still Alive, But Remains at Risk

BRUSSELS, 27 November 2008— Teachers, trade unionists and human rights defenders around the world are mobilising in defence of Farzad Kamangar, an Iranian Kurdish teacher and trade unionist who is at risk of execution.

Education International received information from reliable sources that on 26 November Kamangar was taken from his cell 121 in ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison in preparation for execution by hanging. However, the latest information is that he is still alive and was able to meet with his lawyer Wednesday. His situation remains precarious nonetheless.

Kamangar, aged 33, was sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court on 25 February 2008 after a trial which took place in secret, lasted only minutes, and failed to meet Iranian and international standards of fairness.

The death penalty was met with widespread protest, and Education International, the global union federation representing 30 million teachers, took up Kamangar’s cause, along with other trade union and human rights organisations. Through an online campaign, thousands of letters have been sent to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Kamangar’s behalf.

Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Transport Workers Federation, Amnesty International and LabourStart are discussing a joint campaign to shine the spotlight on Kamangar’s plight.

“Teachers everywhere are shocked by the flagrant disregard for human and trade union rights, as well as a total lack of fair process,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “The death penalty is irreversible and no judicial system should risk condemning an innocent person.”

His lawyer, Kahlil Bahramian, said: “Nothing in Kamangar’s judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him.” Indeed, Kamangar was initially cleared of all charges during the investigation process.

ENDS

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