Irán, República Islámica del - Esmail Abdi, head of the Iranian Teachers’ Association, arrested

Esmail Abdi, the head of the Iranian Teacher’s Association (ITA) had his passport confiscated on 21 June 2015 as he tried to travel to Armenia to obtain a travel visa to Canada. He had planned to attend Education International’s (EI) 7th World Congress in Ottawa in July. He was told he could not travel abroad, and to report to the prosecutor’s office. He went to the prosecutor’s office on 27 June and was arrested and imprisoned.
Mr. Abdi was then transferred to Section 2A of Evin Prison, run by the intelligence unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He was accused of "organising and participating in illegal gatherings” and was denied access to his family and lawyers under the new Code of Criminal Procedures. The Code restricts access to legal counsel during the investigative phase for detainees charged with national security related crimes.
Mr. Abdi and the ITA had been active in the wave of teachers’ protests rallies and had been warned back in May by the regime’s Intelligence Ministry that if the protests continued, he would be arrested. In addition to calling for decent pay, the teachers were pressing for the right of teachers to participate in educational policy development, an end to the privatisation of schools, and the right to bargain collectively for job security . They also demanded the release of the hundreds of teachers being held in prison. In August 2015 a deputy in the regime’s Ministry of Education admitted to holding over 1,000 teachers in prison.
On 22 July, over 2,000 teachers held another rally in front of parliament to protest the continued detention of activists. More than 200 teachers were arrested but were released soon afterwards.

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