Ebrahim Madadi

Iranian labour activist Ebrahim Madadi, who had been released from prison on a furlough 10 days ago, returned to prison today in Tehran.

The Sherkat-e Vahed Union website reports that Madadi, its vice-president, who had been given his first furlough on November 30 after three years in prison, returned to Evin Prison today, after his application for an extension was turned down.

Madadi was arrested in 2007 and sentenced to three and a half years on security charges. He is set for release next May.

International labour right groups, which had lauded his release, spoke out against his re-arrest. The head of the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow, criticized the “shameful” method of toying with the lives of “people and their families, for no other reason than the exercise of their fundamental human and trade union right to represent the legitimate aspirations of other workers.”

Burrow added that “this can only be interpreted as yet another crass and cynical move by the authorities to distract attention from the serious violations of trade union rights in Iran immediately prior to the ILO Regional Asia Pacific Conference, which just concluded in Kyoto.”

David Cockroft, the head of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), also expressed dismay over Madadi’s return to Evin Prison, saying: “We don’t yet know if this arrest is a bureaucratic error or an attempt to punish Ebrahim, but either way it’s an unacceptable infringement on his rights and liberty. Like the continuing imprisonment of the increasingly ill Reza Shahabi, it is an injustice that is crying out to be righted.”

Shahabi, the treasurer of the Sherkat-e Vahed Union, has been under arrest since June of 2010. For more than two weeks he has been on a hunger strike to protest his undetermined judicial state. Shahabi has not been indicted or sentenced after more than 15 months in prison.