Iran sentenced 15 Ilam Petrochemical workers in the western province of Ilam to lashes and prison terms.
The workers of the Ilam Petrochemical Plant were charged with “disrupting public order and peace” on October 14 by the 104nd Branch of the Ilam Penal Court.
The workers had staged a sit it for a few days outside the factory in spring closing all the roads leading to the factory. They were protesting the non-employment of local workers and the layoff of 11 experienced workers of the Ilam Petrochemical Plant.
Human rights sources have disclosed the names and sentences for the 15 Ilam Petrochemical workers who have each received six months of prison and 74 lashes. A worker identified as Milad Dousti was the only one who has been sentenced to two years of prison and 74 lashes.
Founded in 2003, Ilam Petrochemical Co. manufactures and markets petrochemical and chemical products including ethylene, propylene, and polypropylene.
This is not the first time that workers have been sentenced to flogging for practicing their right to assembly.
ILNA state-run News Agency reported on October 28 that a preliminary ruling by the 106th Branch of the Arak Penal Court sentenced 15 HEPCO workers to one to two years of prison and 74 lashes for “disrupting public order” and “instigating workers via the internet to demonstrate and riot.”
The workers had protested their unpaid wages and the uncertain fate of the company in May.
Iran’s Labor Code does not grant citizens the right to form independent unions,despite Iran’s ratification of the UN’s International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and membership in the International Labor Organization.
According to Amnesty International,“independent unions in Iran are banned, workers have few legal rights or protections, and union activists are regularly beaten, arrested, jailed and tortured.”