No doubt you've seen the story elsewhere via various blogs but, as a reminder, today is an international day of action by the trade union movement in support of raising awareness of the plight of Mansour Osanloo, a trade unionist imprisoned by the Iranian authorities because of his trade union activities.
Cut and pasted below is the press release that was issued by the International Transport Workers' Federation in support of the day of action, and further information about the campaign is available at Labour Start and International Transport Workers' Federation website.
World support for Osanloo release
5 March 2008
"Hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets in over 41 countries tomorrow (6 March) to demand the release of imprisoned Iranian trade unionist Mansour Onsanloo.
Supporters will protest at Iranian Embassies and Consulates; lobby diplomats and governments; leaflet, demonstrate and rally. The mass of protests worldwide are all in support of Mansour Osanloo, 48, the elected leader of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, a trade union founded three years ago. Even though the organisation is free, democratic and legal it has been violently attacked by Iranian security forces. As a result of his work Osanloo has been beaten, arrested and had his tongue sliced as a warning against speaking out. He is now being held in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he is in danger of losing his sight in one eye due to a previous beating.
David Cockroft, General Secretary of global union the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), which has spearheaded the fight for Osanloo, added: “Today workers across the world stand alongside their Iranian counterparts, whose request is a reasonable one – the basic right to belong to a union. The Iranian government’s brutal attempts to stifle that call are just making it heard more loudly and more widely.”
He continued: “For three years we and our colleagues in the trade union movement have fought to defend Mansour and his colleagues from the vicious and sustained attacks that have culminated with his imprisonment on trumped up charges of endangering national security. Today’s worldwide action day allows us to shout out that enough is enough, and it is time to set this innocent man free.”
The ITF and ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) are committed to securing the release of Mansour Osanloo, who has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, which is supporting the campaign. See www.freeosanloo.org for further information about Osanloo and his union’s struggle. A short film about him can be seen at www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/osanloo-film.cfm The following actions will be taking place on 6 March 2008 as part of the campaign to free him, with more being confirmed all the time. Updates on these can be seen at www.freeosanloo.org."