Iran: 10 Sugarcane Workers Sentenced to Lashes For ProtestsPublished by Tirdad on August 29, 2019
According to the news, Nine workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Factory in the south-western city of Shush were sentenced to eight months of prison and 30 lashes each.
The sentences issued by the Branch 102 of the Shush Criminal Court.
Ten workers were tried and nine of them were sentenced to prison and lashes and the last one was acquitted of the charges.
The trial was held on Wednesday, 14 August.
The workers are prosecuted for attending a one-hour protest gathering on 9 May, to demand their rights.
According to the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Syndicate, one of the charges brought against these 10 workers is “Holding illegal gatherings to demand change of management and demanding the release of Esmail Bakhshi”
The Syndicate also said that workers had been summoned for charges such as “publishing messages on the internet”.
The Iranian government does not recognize workers’ rights to organize even though they have months of unpaid wages and say that their basic demands have not been met.
Last November, workers of the Haft Tappeh factory held gatherings, streets marches and protests for more than 20 consecutive days. They were protesting not receiving their pay checks and the privatization of the factory.
The protests were suppressed after security forces arrested, summoned and tortured labour leaders and workers.
Workers are banned from demanding their rights in Iran even while Iranian workers have lost more than 57% of their purchasing power according to recent studies and can barely provide their basic needs.
The workers complain they have become poorer while the managers of the company have become richer.
Trade unionist Jafar Azimzadeh, the leading member of the Free Union of Workers in Iran, described the workers’ condition as “slavery.”
“The families of some workers have to buy bread on credit, because of unpaid salaries and if this situation continues, even bakeries will refuse to sell bread to the workers on credit,” he said, explaining the plight of workers who have not received their wages for months.
Under such financial strain, some workers have even reached the point of committing suicide.
Haft Tappeh workers have always had to fight for their wages, pensions and rights in the past years.
In mid-August 2018, 500 workers protested not being paid for at least three months. Reports indicate that riot police attacked the striking workers with tear gas and beat the protesters. Five workers were also detained but were later released after being charged with “disrupting order”.
This was not an isolated case of persecution against these workers. Iranian officials have in the past also responded with force, arresting leaders and members of the Haft Tappeh Workers’ Syndicate.
At least 100 workers of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company have been summoned or detained only for speaking out and demanding their rights.