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Iran Sentences 3 Labor Activists to 5-Year Jail Term

Iran Sentences 3 Labor Activists to 5-Year Jail Term

Tuesday, 17 December, 2019 - 16:30
Riot police tries to disperse people as they protest on a highway against increased gas price in Tehran, Iran November 16, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran sentenced two labor activists in the country's south to five-year prison term each for taking part in a January protest over several months of owed back pay, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported Tuesday.


A third worker from the same region was also given a five-year sentence for supporting a workers' strike last year. ILNA did not say when the sentences were handed down.


The two activists arrested in January - Esmail Bakhshi and Mohammad Khanifar - are sugar mill workers. They were detained following a protest by workers of the Haft Tapeh mill in southern Khuzestan province.


Another labor activist from Khuzestan, Sepideh Gholian, was arrested during a demonstration there in support of a workers´ strike in October 2018. She was released in October this year on about $130,000 bail.


Before his arrest, Bakhshi wrote on his Instagram page that he was beaten and tortured while in temporary detention. He was released on about $70,000 bail in October. There was no information on whether Khanifar had also been released on bail.


The three activists whose sentencing ILNA reported on were not connected to last month's demonstrations across Iran over the spike in gasoline prices and the security-force crackdown that followed. Amnesty International said Monday that at least 304 people were killed in those anti-government protests.


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