|ITF's Maritime Conference spotlighted two trade unionists jailed for defending worker rights.
October 2, 2012—Moroccan trade unionist Said Elhairech has been released from prison and all serious charges dropped against him, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) said today. Only one minor charge against Elhairech remains. However, Mohamed Chamchati, general secretary of Morocco’s Merchant Seafarer’s Union, remains in detention.
Elhairech, general secretary of the dock workers’ branch of the Union Marocaine de Travail (UMT) and chair of the ITF’s Arab World Regional Committee, and Chamchati, were jailed in mid-June for defending the rights of ferry workers stranded in France and Spain after their company declared bankruptcy.
ITF general secretary David Cockroft said that for more than 100 days, “trade unionists around the world” have fought for the release of both men. “This is undoubtedly the right decision, if overdue, and it proves what we said all along, that the charges were ridiculous—and we have broadcast that fact to the world.”
In hailing Elhairech’s release, ITF president Paddy Crumlin urged that “the release of Mohamed must now also follow.”