Freedom, the cardinal sin in Iran!

Hundreds of Iranian people in Tehran have staged protests in recent days in front of the Iranian Parliament building, holding up posters and placards showing photographs of some of the thousands of dissidents imprisoned by the brutal regime and demanding the unconditional release of all political prisoners.

In this footage, young workers’ rights activists are seen at a protest in solidarity with the well-known prisoner of conscience and labour activist Reza Shahabi and dozens of other imprisoned dissidents, labour activists, teachers and others, demanding their release; Shahabi and his fellow prisoners are currently staging a hunger strike over their unjust detention. Reza, a bus driver, and prominent trade unionist has now been on hunger strike, along with a group of around 50 other imprisoned dissidents for almost a month to protest against the illegality of their imprisonment, and the atrocious conditions they are being held in. One of his comrades and fellow labor activists, Shahrokh Zamani, died in the same prison in 2015.

Human rights groups expressed their solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike and demand that the Iranian government releases them and all jailed labor movement activists in Iran.

Dozens of the protesters at the demonstration in front of the entrance to the Iranian parliament were arrested and brutally beaten by Iranian security forces who intervened to quell the protest, with the regime’s thugs assaulting and arresting both male and female demonstrators. Despite the very real danger, the heroic activists continued to shout slogans calling for freedom and dignity for the unjustly imprisoned political prisoners and labor activists even as the regime thugs attacked them. The protesters, particularly women who had a strong presence at the demonstration according to the footage from the event, were also chanting slogans condemning the Iranian government and local authorities in Tehran.

Activists posted footage from the protests on social media, showing Iranian police using batons and tear gas to attack the protesters, with many wounded and arrested.

One of the protesters, who was filming part of the demonstration, can be heard shouting that the police were agents of repression and describing the Iranian regime as “dictatorial”, with women also heard apparently choking on tear gas.

Amnesty International said in its annual report for 2017 on the state of human rights globally that Iranian authorities continue to suppress civil society, dissidents, non-Persian ethnic minorities, and women.

The regime authorities severely suppress the people’s right to freedom of expression, free association, freedom of peaceful assembly and of religious belief, Amnesty said, routinely arresting and imprisoning peaceful dissidents and others following farcical kangaroo trials in so-called “revolutionary courts.” The internationally renowned human rights body also stated that “Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained widespread, and the perpetrators continued to go unpunished.”