Jailed Iranian labour activist taken to hospital

Jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi has been transferred to hospital after three weeks on a hunger strike. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that Nader Naderi, the union activist’s brother-in-law, said Shahabi was taken to Khomeini Hospital on Wednesday morning.

Naderi said officials told the family on Wednesday morning that they cannot visit Shahabi. They even refused to divulge the hospital to which he’d been sent.

Naderi said the family had searched all the hospitals in order to locate their relative and were still denied a personal visit up close.

“He is in very bad condition,” Naderi said. “He has severe pain in his neck, and his left side seems to have lost functionality.”

The report indicated that the ailing prisoner was not seen by a doctor but was instead subjected to some tests, including a CT scan.

Shahabi, the treasurer of the Sherkat-e Vahed Bus Drivers Union, was arrested 15 months ago and so far has not been officially charged.

Three weeks ago he began a hunger strike to protest his undetermined state. His family reports that he is in need of immediate surgery, according to doctors, but the authorities have denied him medical treatment.

Shahabi was involved in the bus drivers’ strike six years ago, which got him suspended from work, a decision he had appealed. After four years, the Court of Administrative Justice voted to reinstate him in his job. He was arrested again in June of 2010, only weeks after returning to work.

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