Iran: Education International calls for urgent medical leave and release for imprisoned teacher trade union leader Jafar Ebrahimi

published 11 September 2023 updated 15 September 2023

The health of Jafar Ebrahimi, a Board Member of the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations (CCITTA), has deteriorated considerably during his unjust imprisonment in Iran. Education International has appealed to Iranian authorities to grant an urgent medical leave for the teacher trade unionist.

Update 15 September 2023

Friends and family of imprisoned teacher unionist Jafar Ebrahimi gathered in front of Qezal Hesar prison to demand information on his whereabouts and welfare. After many hours of waiting, prison officials informed them that Jafar had in fact not been taken to hospital after the brutal attack by a prison guard. Instead, he has been kept in the prison infirmary. The family was allowed a 20-second call with Jafar to confirm his situation. Jafar informed his family that he is refusing to take any medicine to protest the beatings and the fact that he has not been transferred to hospital. Education International reiterates its call to Iranian authorities to grant Jafar an urgent medical leave.

Update 12 September 2023

Information has come to light that Jafar was physically assaulted by a prison guard in the Qezal Hesar prison infirmary on 12 September 2023. He sustained severe injuries. While prison authorities claim Jafar has been transferred to hospital to receive medical care, friends and family cannot find any trace of him in hospitals in the region. Education International calls on Iranian authorities to immediately reveal Jafar’s location and grant him urgent medical leave.

Jafar Ebrahimi has been imprisoned in Iran for the last twenty months. He has been suffering from an intestinal disease and his condition has significantly deteriorated during his confinement. He was only permitted access to a hospital once, and the treatment was done under severe security, denying him the right to comprehensive medical care.

His diabetes has worsened and information from fellow inmates suggests that Ebrahimi's eyesight is at risk. Without immediate and proper hospitalisation, he may completely lose his sight.

However, instead of granting the requested permission for Ebrahimi's hospitalisation, authorities transferred him from Evin prison to Qezal Hesar detention facility outside Tehran on 3 September. The authorities have also pressed new charges against him, accusing him of "threatening the security of the nation" and "disturbing the convenience of society”.

Together with 12 other prisoners transferred to Qezal Hesar, Jafar Ebrahimi has begun a hunger strike, demanding his return to Evin prison and the dismissal of all new charges. Ebrahimi is not allowed contact with his family who is very worried about his health in the new detention facility.

"Jafar Ebrahimi, along with other imprisoned teacher union leaders, has not violated any national or international laws. Their arrest, imprisonment and continued detention are a violation of the fundamental right of workers to freedom of association and expression."

David Edwards | Education International General Secretary

On September 6, Education International (EI) submitted a protest letter to the Iranian authorities, calling for an urgent medical leave for Ebrahimi, so that he can receive prompt specialised medical attention and proper care. EI stressed that it holds the Iranian government accountable for any harm that may befall teacher unionists while incarcerated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Education International and its affiliate CCITTA call for the immediate release of all imprisoned teacher trade unionists in Iran.