On Sunday May 9, Farzad Kamangar, a teacher trade union activist from the Kurdish region of Iran, who has been the subject of an international solidarity campaign, was executed.
Four other political prisoners were executed at the same time. The executions took place without families and lawyers being informed. By such an outrageous “out of the blue” state killing of a high profile political prisoner, the clerical-fascist regime attempted to terrorise the labour and opposition movements in Iran.
Farzad Kamangar was sentenced to death in February 2008. He was a member of the Kurdistan Teachers trade union. Farzad had already spent three years in prison on the charges of being affiliated with PJAK, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) counterpart in Iranian Kurdistan. He denied the charge, but in any case, for the thousands of people who supported him worldwide in the campaign for his release, the point was he was being imprisoned for being a political, trade union person from a minority area of Iran.
Three of the other prisoners executed alongside Farzad Kamangar — Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili and Shirin Alamhouli — were also political prisoners from Kurdish Iran.
All had been tortured in prison. Shirin Alamhouli said of her treatment, “The poundings on my head during the tortures have caused injuries to my head. Some days, I have severe headaches so harsh that I cannot pay attention to what goes on around me and get nose bleeds.” The other person executed was Mehdi Eslamian.
A few days before the executions, on May Day, there were small demonstrations in Iranian cities. Reportedly some May Day protests were connected with the "Green" oppositition, but at least one, in Qazvin, was motivated by demands for unpaid wages.
In the last few months many thousands of workers have lost their jobs in Iran — the result of competition from imports, privatisations and sell-offs of enterprises to companies owned by the Revolutionary Guards. Official reports of unemployment levels have been suppressed, but the trend is likely to continue.
Before May Day trade union and labour movement organisations in Iran came together to produce a statement which outlined the situation facing Iranian workers and their tasks, calling for the right “to strike, protest, march, assemble and speak freely” (see www.workersliberty.org/node/14096). Working-class organisations internationally need to act on their commitment to solidarity with Iranian workers.
• We can begin by protesting about these executions. For a model protest letter and addresses to send it to: www.workersliberty.org/node/14173