13 Sep 2011

Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deepest concern over the deterioration of the educational system in Bahrain caused by unwarranted decisions taken by the government of Bahrain targeting teachers and university students. Recently: expelled university students have been summoned for investigation, students are on hunger strike in solidarity with their detained friends, and teachers are being transferred to schools in different areas also being dismissed and replaced by unqualified teachers.

Dozens of students on hunger strike in solidarity with their detained friends from University of Bahrain

Last June BCHR has reported the arrest of 78 students, most of them were students of University of Bahrain. They were either arrested by having their homes raided and vandalized, and their families terrorized, some got arrested from their universities while other from their villages or at checkpoints. Being involved in politics is not the reason for being arrested as many students who had no involvement in any political activities were arrested for the mere reason of being from a certain sect which indicated for authorities that they are from opposition. Today 6 of University of Bahrain students remain in detention after 5 months from their arrest.

More than 30 students have started a hunger strike in solidarity with their 6 detained friends:

  1. Jawad Al Mahary - arrested 29 March
  2. Shawqi Radhi - arrested 26 April, House raid
  3. Jassim Al Hulaini - arrested 27 March, House raid
  4. Jassim AlMukhodher - arrested 26 April, House raid
  5. Ali AlMoolani - arrested 16 March, at check point
  6. Yousif Ahmed – arrested 26 April, House raid

Click to view the information of the detained students

Ali AlMowlani, one of the detained students, 21 years, electrical engineering student at UOB and a player at the Bahrain Hand Ball National Team and AlAhli Club. He was arrested at a checkpoint on 16 March and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in a military court on 12 May for participating in “illegal assembly”.

The other students have been falsely accused of being involved in the March 13 incident where government-sponsored thugs supported by security forces attacked university students[1] in the UOB campus. The attack resulted in four serious cases of injury and about 80-100 students were transferred to the hospital due to suffocation caused by tear gas[2].

The detained students have been through severe torture in their early days of detention and were denied access to their families and lawyers for at least a month as reported by families of the majority of detained students. On 21 June, they were presented to the military court, Shawqi Radhi, was unable to stand because of torture.

In protest of their unfair detention and ill-treatment, they started a hunger strike on 1 September, some of them including Shwqi Radhi has been hospitalized more than once and the hunger strike doctor from the BICI has visited them, but they have continued their hunger strike which raises concerns over their health.

Not only are friends on hunger strike in demand of the release of the students, but the mother of Younis Ahmed has started a hunger strike as well. Younis is a 20 year old student who has been in detention for more than 4 months after having his home raided by 15 to 20 security officers as per a family member's account of his arrest. His family did not hear from Younis until the date of his trial after one and a half months had passed. Later they learned that he was ill-treated and tortured in prison, with marks of torture apparent on his feet. The fate of his friends was similar, as they were all being humiliated and beaten, even in the waiting room in court in the case of Younis. He mentioned that on their first trial they were told that they were being taken to Saudi Arabia to be prosecuted and executed, in attempt to intimidate them.

Their case has been resumed recently scheduled again at the military court on 3rd October.

Polytechnic Students: promised to be reinstated but instead have been summoned to the police station

Bahrain Polytechnic students have been waiting to be contacted to be reinstated after the king’s speech[3] after official statements which promised to return 31 students although numbers of expelled are proved to be higher[4]. Instead of receiving the awaited call, 5 students were contacted to be summoned by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to Al Hurra police station on September 12:

  1. Mohammed Al Aradi
  2. Hussain Merza
  3. Jaffer Al Hayki
  4. Ali Hasan
  5. Ali Al Aali

Expelled students arrived at the police station with their lawyers who were not allowed to join them in the interrogation despite many attempts. Students went to the investigation alone one by one, spotting their files and the investigation documents they signed at Bahrain Polytechnic after their interrogation. They were asked almost the same questions regarding their Facebook and Twitter posts, photos and going to the Pearl Roundabout[5]. Some students were asked about other expelled students’ contacts and a couple of students confirmed seeing a list of names of at least 20 of their expelled colleagues. Finally, they signed a paper stating that they should be present whenever called, had their fingerprints taken, had their photos taken and were allowed to leave.

The general accusations towards students are crowding attending public gatherings and vandalizing property. Although they were told that their case will be referred to the public prosecutor, the investigator told them that these charges will be dropped so they can go back to university soon, but if they did repeat their actions the sentence would be harsher.

Today, other students from the Bahrain Polytechnic were summoned to the police station. It is believed that more will be called in the coming days.

Teachers being discriminated against and unfairly transferred to other schools for no apparent reasons

Hundreds of teachers have been targeted by the Bahraini regime and discriminated against based on their religious sector after the authorities imposed martial law in March. Schools have been raided and dozens of teachers have been arrested, detained, humiliated and tortured. It has been reported that 100s have been subjected to salary cuts or did not receive their salary for months, as well as being suspended and sacked[6] after going through a series of humiliations and unjust investigations[7].

Such actions did not stop but rather escalated after the academic year started in schools. Dozens of teachers from different schools have reportedly been transferred from their schools to other schools without prior notice or clear communication of the reasons behind the act. BCHR have been informed that principles of schools in Bahrain had a meeting with the Minister of Education where they were told not to enquire about the reasons behind the transfers of their staff because it is a result of the investigations they have conducted.

Also, many voluntary teachers who started volunteering in schools after teachers had gone on a strike calling for political demands in the past academic year have been hired after the Prime Minister ordered for their immediate hiring[8]. Most of the voluntary teachers have no degree or teaching experience, but were hired on the basis of loyalty to the leadership of Bahrain. It should be mentioned that there are 1000s of unemployed university graduates in Bahrain who have been waiting to be hired for the past few years.

Mahdi Abu Deeb, Bahrain Teachers’ Association president, has started a hunger strike demanding his release and for all charges against him to be dropped. Abu Deeb has been detained for more than 6 months after his home was raided for several times. Furthermore, Mahdi’s daughter, Maryam Abu Deeb, Jaleela Al Salman, recently released Vice preisedent of BTS, and a number of his uncles and aunts have announced going on hunger strike in solidarity with Mahdi AbuDeeb’s demands.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights appeals to Ministries of Education, Teachers Associations, Students Unions and all Human Rights organizations and activists to take actions to save the educational sector in Bahrain by:

  • Demanding the release of all detained students and teachers
  • Demanding to end all military trials of students and teachers
  • Acting to reinstate expelled students from all universities in Bahrain
  • Demanding the authorities to stop summoning students for investigation, which puts them under risk of being prosecuted and possibly facing court
  • Demanding the return of all sacked teachers to their jobs
  • Calling for Bahrain's Ministry of Education (MOE) to hire on the basis of educational merit and experience rather than loyalty to the leadership
  • Demanding the MOE to stop all discriminatory actions against students and teachers
  • Bringing all responsible in taking such decision to justice

  • For more details on violations against teachers and students or to report your case, please contact edu@bahrainrights.org

    [1]http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4190 [1]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31OZrTtKfdY [2]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532288/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html [2]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532285/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html [2]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532288/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html [3]http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4618 [4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3277/news/read/591728/1.html [5]http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4369 [6]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3291/news/read/594281/1.html [7]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTFNnN1lXSo [8]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3292/news/read/594611/1.html