(Prague, Czech Republic--November 20, 2006) An Iranian trade union official has given Radio Farda an eyewitness account of yesterday's surprise arrest of union leader Mansour Osanlou in Tehran.
In an exclusive interview, Ebrahim Madadi, deputy director of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company told Radio Farda he was with Osanlou at the time of the arrest. Madadi told Radio Farda listeners that he saw seven security agents drag a struggling Osanlou into their car and drive away. Madadi said he, Osanlou and another union colleague were on their way to the labor office when Osanlou got out of their car to buy a newspaper.
According to Madadi, agents from the Intelligence Ministry seized him as he was crossing the street: "Mr. Osanlou called for help while he was being arrested. I went to help him but the agents beat me, too. One of them who beat me pulled out his gun and fired a shot in the air. Currently we have no news about Osanlou's fate."
Osanlou, president of the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran Bus Company and an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime's labor policies, was due to appear in court today (November 20). His family and lawyers have said that authorities have not informed them of the reason for Osanlou's rearrest or about any criminal charges made against him.
Osanlou's arrest comes just three months after he was released on bail from Tehran's notorious Evin prison, after being jailed for seven months for organizing protests against the working conditions of bus drivers. Press reports in Iran say Osanlou has been taken back to Evin prison.
A full report on the re-arrest of Mansour Osanlou can be found on RFE/RL's website
Radio Farda, a joint project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA), is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service. Produced in Washington, D.C. and Prague, Czech Republic and transmitted to listeners via AM, shortwave and satellite, Radio Farda features fresh news and information at least twice an hour, with longer news programming in the morning and the evening. Radio Farda also broadcasts popular Persian and Western music. Radio Farda programming is available via the Internet, at the service's website www.radiofarda.com
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