After entering critical condition, Jafar Azimzadeh, a political prisoner in Iran, was released from Evin Prison on June 30.
Earlier that day, hundreds of Iranians had rallied outside President Hassan Rouhani’s office in Tehran, demanding Azimzadeh’s release. Azimzadeh was detained while he was leader of the Free Union of Workers of Iran for his union activities. His imprisonment became a focal point for workers’ rights in Iran, where state crackdowns on unions and regressions in workers’ rights have increased.
Azimzadeh’s 62-day hunger strike has drawn increased attention over the past month as his condition grew increasingly critical. Fears for his health were compounded by the statements of his prosecutors, saying they would do nothing to prevent his death in the event of an emergency.
According to the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI),
Azimzadeh has been on hunger strike protesting the “violation of the fundamental rights of teachers and workers,” “their detention and prosecution for bogus reasons” and raising charges such as “acting against security” against labor activists and teachers.
Mr. Azimzadeh, who was arrested on November 8, 2015, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in Ward 8 of Evin Prison for engaging in peaceful and legitimate trade union activities.
A key demand of Mr. Azimzadeh and other workers’ union activists is for the authorities to drop the charge of “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and other national security charges in cases of union activities.
Mr. Azimzadeh sent a statement out of Evin Prison following the release on bail of fellow political prisoner Ismail Abdi, Secretary General of Iran’s Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA), vowing to continue his hunger strike until the “demands of millions of teachers and workers” are met.
He will be summoned for a new court date soon.
We will be updating this story with more information when it is made available.