The Australian Transport Union Federation (TUF) has welcomed the Iranian Government's decision to release bus driver Mansour Osanloo from jail as a victory for human rights.

Mansour Onsaloo’s imprisonment was always unjust. He was jailed for being a member of a trade union, a basic right many of us take for granted.

“Mansour Osanloo’s only crime was sticking up for workers for which he has paid an incredible price. He has been beaten, denied access to adequate medical treatment and unfairly imprisoned for four long years and we now all celebrate his release,” MUA National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin said.

“Australian unions have joined in the international efforts in campaigning for his release for four years and today’s news is a victory for basic human and workers’ rights.”

Transport unions had campaigned for an unconditional pardon but are relieved nonetheless given Mansour Osanloo’s health has deteriorated rapidly through the course of his unjust imprisonment.

TWU national secretary, Tony Sheldon, said the freeing of the Iranian trade union leader was a major step for the trade union movement in Iran.

“A basic human right is that you have the ability to be represented in your workplace for protection from corporate greed – the jailing of a man for making these representations is a disgrace,” Mr Sheldon said.

“It can only be hoped that other jailed trade unionists in Iran will also be liberated and that Iranian workers can achieve a fair outcome,” Mr Sheldon said.

The news will not deter Australian trade unions from continuing to campaign for an end to trade union repression in Iran and elsewhere. Mansour's Osanloo’s union comrades, Reze Shahabi and Ebrahim Madadi continue to languish in prison but must be freed immediately.

TUF will always fight to uphold the universal right to collective bargaining and trade union representation. 

Mansour Osanloo is a bus driver and one of the founding members of the Vahed Syndicate, a free trade union representing Tehran's bus workers. From its beginnings in 2005 the ITF-affiliated union was subjected to heavy repression, including repeated attacks and arrests. Mansour Osanloo was heavily targeted. As well as being beaten up and having his tongue slit he was imprisoned in 2005 and 2006. Then in 2007, just one month after visiting the London head office of the ITF and meeting trade unionists in Brussels, he was arrested. Three months later he was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of ‘acting against national security’ and ‘propaganda against the state’; in 2010 another year was added to his sentence. In reality his only offence was to help found a genuinely democratic trade union.