Police beat Shahabi, treasurer of the ITF-affiliated Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, following his arrest in 2010. The beatings reportedly caused liver and kidney dysfunction, a loss of sensation in Shahabi’s leg, and severe back pain.
Following an operation on his spine in August 2012, Shahabi was sent back to prison – against medical advice. A further examination in October 2013 showed that without treatment, it was possible that Shahabi could be disabled permanently.
Despite the severity of his injuries, Shahabi still hasn’t received the medical treatment he needs. International human rights organisations and global union federations have intervened. Campaigning work by the ITF and others led to Shahabi’s temporary release from prison to receive medical treatment last year. However, after just three short months, he was recalled to prison.
ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton said: “Reza Shahabi must get the medical treatment that experts in the country have recommended. That this has stemmed from his trade union activities is appalling. We are clear that no worker must be imprisoned for his or her trade union activities. The Iranian authorities must release Reza now.”