Labour activist Jafar Azimzadeh whose hunger strike has made headlines is summoned back to court only three days after being released from the hospital he was being kept at as a prisoner.
His grave health conditions forced the Iranian judiciary to release him temporarily to his family on bail based on medical grounds. On the day of Azimzadeh’s temporary release his, a rally call was issued to join a protest on July 1 at 10 am in front of President Hassan Rohani’s office in Tehran.
Azimzadeh, was on hunger strike for 62 consecutive days demanding that “security charges be eliminated from proceedings against labour activists”. The demand has been completely ignored by judiciary officials even though many labour activists have joined Azimzadeh in raising concerns over such charges.
Islamic Republic of Iran Judiciary regularly charged labour activists, workers and unionists with national security charges despite the fact that their demands are often economical.
The court notice has summoned Azimzadeh to come to the judiciary branch four of Saveh municipality. He has been informed that this is an investigation session. The judiciary in Iran calls interrogations, “investigation sessions.”
It is not clear at this point if new charges are being brought against Azimzadeh. The court notice asks this labour activist to be at court at 10 am on 5 July.
This new development in Azimzadeh case happens despite the fact that his family has been promised that he will be illegible for temporary release based on medical grounds.
Last week, Azimzadeh’s wife, Akram Rahimpour reported that Tehran Prosecutor’s office has told her they are not concerned about Azimzadeh’s possible death during his hunger strike.
She also adds that Azimazadeh was issued a five day furlough and the prosecutor’s office has only informed him that if he ends his hunger strike, he will be allowed to take the five day temporary release.
Jafar Azimzadeh is the head of the Free Union of Iranian Workers. In March of 2014 he was sentenced to five years in jail for “assembly and collusion against national security and disrupting public order”.
He was also charged and sentenced to an additional year in prison for “propaganda activities against the regime”.
This labour activist has been serving his sentences since November of 2015.
Azimzadeh denies the charges and insists that his labour demands for job security, equitable pay and right to mark International Workers Day cannot be interpreted as security crimes.
Azimzadeh’s imprisonment is significant for workers’ rights in Iran. His treatment is part of the state crackdowns on unionist and workers who demand better life conditions.