UPDATE: this evening we've heard that Behnam has been released on bail.
Jailed Iranian trade unionist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is requesting an emergency release as his 13-year old son, Nima, his only child, who has very recently been diagnosed with cancer and is in hospital in Tehran. The TUC and others have joined the call for his temporary release on humanitarian grounds.
The call comes after his fellow trade unionist, Reza Shahabi, was freed initially for five days, and then for longer, to receive urgent medical care. Reza had to undertake a hunger strike to persuade the authorities to let him out.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, originally jailed in June 2010, is a well-known labour activist in Iran. He is a member of the Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Workers’ Organizations, and a Children's Rights advocate. Like Reza Shahabi, Behnam has been the subject of Amnesty International campaign postcards issued last year. He has been arrested more than once for protesting for trade union rights, and has been beaten severely in prison.
In January 2011 he was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment on spurious charges, eventually reduced to five years on appeal. The TUC still believes that he should be freed unconditionally, as his only crime is exercising his fundamental right to be a trade unionist.
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