Human rights and media outlets are reporting that the daughter-in-law of imprisoned Iranian labor leader Mansour Osanloo was kidnapped and severely beaten in Iran on June 23rd.
Parveneh Osanloo, the wife of the labor leader, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her daughter-in-law was seized at a metro station in Tehran as she was returning home from work. She was blindfolded, taken to an unknown location and brutally beaten. Her assailants demanded that she sign a paper pledging that if Mansour Osanloo was released from prison, the Osanloo family would either give up all political activities or leave Iran. Parveneh Osanloo told Rooz Online that her daughter-in-law suffered a miscarriage from the attack.
She also said, "What happened to my daughter-in-law was a warning for all of us.. . . .I announce right now that the Islamic Republic officials are responsible if any member of my family's life is in danger or anything happens to us."
Mansour Osanloo is founder and president of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran United Bus Company, regarded as the first independent trade union in Iran. He has been repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for his union work, and is currently serving a five year prison term. The latest U.S. Department of State human rights report notes that, according to Amnesty International, Mr. Osanloo was named in the general indictment of the Iranian government's show trials in August 2009, and has been denied medical care by Iranian authorities. The U.S. has called for his release.
Iranian law provides workers the right to establish unions. The arrest and detention of Mansour Osanloo for his peaceful efforts on behalf of workers’ rights are reprehensible. But the brutalization of his family in order to convince him to give up his work is savagery.
In a statement marking the anniversary of Iran's disputed presidential elections last June, President Barack Obama condemned the severe repression of fundamental human rights taking place in Iran. He challenged the Iranian government to live up to its obligation to "foster not fear, but the aspirations of its own people." The U.S. he says, looks "forward to the day when Iranians will be able to speak freely, assemble without fear, and express their views without facing retribution." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. "will continue to hold Iran accountable for its obligations to respect the rights of its own people."