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Jafar Azimzadeh Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 8 June 2020, Jafar Azimzadeh received an additional 13 month prison sentence on charges of "propaganda against state" from Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court.

On 20 May 2020, Akram Rahimpour, Jafar Azimzadeh’s wife was summoned to the Second Branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where she was questioned regarding interviews she had given to the media regarding her husband’s case.

On 4 May 2020, Jafar Azimzadeh was summoned to a hearing for a new charge to be brought against him.

On 29 January 2019, Jafar Azimzadeh was arbitrarily re-arrested to serve the remainder of his five year imprisonment sentence from 2015.

Trade union activists Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad have been acquitted of charges of ‘acting against national security’.

On 15 October 2016, labour rights defenders Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad were sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Saveh over charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘crimes of assembly and collusion against national security through organizing and operating an illegal group’.

About Jafar Azimzadeh

jafar_azimzadeh Jafar Azimzadeh is a well-known trade unionist in Iran. He is the leading member of the Free Union of Workers in Iran. He is active in defending labour rights and the improvement of working conditions.

15 June 2020
Jafar Azimzadeh sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment

On 8 June 2020, Jafar Azimzadeh received an additional 13 month prison sentence on charges of "propaganda against state" from Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court. The entire legal process, from hearing to issuing the sentence, took just less than one month. The human rights defender said he will not appeal the decision, as he does not recognize the court. Rather, he will make his defence before the court of public opinion. Jafar Azimzadeh is currently serving a five year sentence for ‘crimes of assembly and collusion against national security through organizing and operating an illegal group’.
 

20 May 2020
Unknown charges brought against Akram Rahimpour, Jafar Azimzadeh’s wife

On 20 May 2020, Akram Rahimpour, Jafar Azimzadeh’s wife was summoned to the Second Branch of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, where she was questioned regarding interviews she had given to the media regarding her husband’s case. Akram Rahimpour was informed that she should introduce someone to the court as a guarantor in the coming days. The charges being brought against her are not known. This can be viewed as an attempt to silence and put pressure on Jafar Azimzadeh and his family.

4 May 2020
New charges against Jafar Azimzadeh

On 4 May 2020, Jafar Azimzadeh was summoned to a hearing for a new charge to be brought against him. He was charged with “propaganda against the regime”, which he was informed was related to: a joint statement released in November 2019 regarding sick prisoners; and an audio recording of him from prison denouncing the sentencing of Nasrin Javadi, a fellow member of the Free Worker’s Union, and others arrested during the May Day demonstration in 2019, as well as the sentencing of workers from the Syndicate of Haft-Tapeh Sugar Cane Company. Jafar Azimzadeh had initially refused to appear before the court when summoned on 2 May 2020, eventually agreeing to appear on 4 May.

29 June 2019
Jafar Azimzadeh re-arrested to serve “remainder” of sentence

On 29 January 2019, Jafar Azimzadeh was arbitrarily re-arrested to serve the remainder of his five year imprisonment sentence from 2015. He was sentenced in 2015 on charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘crimes of assembly and collusion against national security through organizing and operating an illegal group’. The charges were upheld by the Appeal Court and on 8 November 2015 he began serving his sentence. He was temporarily released on 30 June 2016 following a two-month hunger strike.

Since his re-arrest in 2019, Jafar Azimzadeh has remained in prison and has not been granted temporary leave during COVID-19, despite suffering from heart and digestive conditions.

 

1 June 2017
Jafar Azimzadeh Acquitted

Trade union activists Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad have been acquitted of charges of ‘acting against national security’ for peacefully advocating for labour rights.

According to the judgement issued by the Appeal Court, “Activities show they were trying to help workers attain their legitimate rights and therefore their actions were not deemed intended to ‘disrupt national security’ or engage in ‘propaganda against the state.’” Azimzadeh and Ehsanirad, were taken to court by the Safa Rolling and Pipe Mills Company  for allegedly inciting the company’s workers to go on strike in April 2015 to demand several months of unpaid wages and benefits.

In October 2016, Azimzadeh and Ehsanirad were sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Saveh over charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘crimes of assembly and collusion against national security through organizing and operating an illegal group’.

24 October 2016
Jafar Azimzadeh Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

On 15 October 2016, labour rights defenders Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad were sentenced to 11 years in prison by the Revolutionary Court of Saveh over charges of ‘propaganda against the regime’ and ‘crimes of assembly and collusion against national security through organizing and operating an illegal group’.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

The two human rights defenders were sentenced to 10 years in prison for establishing the Free Union of Workers in Iran and one year for 'propaganda against the Islamic Republic', 'publishing false contents on Internet' and 'participating in illegal demonstration and protests'. The human rights defenders also face another investigation in another case at branch 101 of the Second Criminal Court in Saveh over charges of 'disturbing the public opinion and public order' for allegedly inciting workers at the Safe Rolling and Pipe Mills Company to go on strike in 2015.

In a separate case, Jafar Azimzadeh was sentenced to six years in prison and two years of deprivation from any cyberspace and media activities in March 2015 by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on charges of 'collusion against national security' and 'propaganda against the state’ which were upheld by the Appeal Court on 8 November 2015. He was temporarily released on 30 June 2016 following a two-month hunger strike.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the sentencing of labour rights defenders Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad, as it believes that it has been solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of the workers' rights.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to:

1. Immediately quash all sentences against Jafar Azimzadeh and Shapour Ehsanirad and drop all charges against them.

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals.