Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) – Since the beginning of this year, labor activists have faced more repression and arrests have increased. As International Workers’ Day on the 1st of May, more commonly known as May 1, is approaching, the number of summoned and arrested labor activists has increased.

Merely in the past three weeks, eight labor rights activists of who are mostly members of the Executive Committee of the Labor Movement, were arrested in Kurdish cities and been transferred to various detention facilities of the security forces. A number of labor activists have been sentenced to imprisonment and punishment by lashes.

According to the KHRN, On Wednesday April 8, Nezam Sadeqi one of the activists who is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Labor Movement was arrested in Sanandaj and his exact whereabouts and condition status is unknown to date. He contacted his family only once when his family gathered in front of Sanandaj intelligence office (Etela’at) in protest of his arrest. In that short call, he informed the family that he is under arrest by Sanandaj intelligence office and asked his family to end their gathering.

In addition to these arrests, Aram and Foad Zamani, who are both labor activists and members of the Executive Committee of the Labor Movement were also arrested on Tuesday April 14 at their mother’s residence and transferred to one of the detention facilities of the security forces.

On Saturday, April 18, security agents arrested Hamed Mahmoudinejad, another activist, on the street in Sanandaj. He was reportedly beaten while being arrested.

Another labor activist whose identity has been disclosed as Reza Amjadi was arrested on April 25 in Sanandaj by the same intelligence office that conducted the other arrests in Sanandaj. Three days later, Mahmoud Salehi and Osman Esmaieli were arrested in Saqqez and Mahabad, respectively, and their whereabouts is unknown to date.

Meanwhile, Yadollah Samadi and Eqbal Shabani, two of the labor activists from Sanandaj have been sentenced to five months in prison and 30 lashes on charges of disturbing the public order by attending gatherings in support of the Kobani resistance. According to Iranian Labor News Agency, ILNA, the verdicts of Mr. Samadi and Mr. Shabani have been issued after the first trial session even though prosecutors failed to provide witnesses of the case to the court.

According to the reports to KHRN, Sanandaj intelligence office summoned a number of the activists and threatened them to not organize any event for International Workers’ Day, May 1.

The last arrest took place on April 29 as Pedram Nasrollahi, another activist and member of the Executive Committee of the Labor Movement, was arrested by the security agents in Sanandaj. Pedram has been transferred to the detention facility of the intelligence office in Sanandaj.