Right : President of Teachers Association Mahdi Abudeeb; Left: Vice President Jaleela Al-Salaman

25 October 2012 The Bahrain Centre for human rights (BCHR) expresses its deepest concern over the recent court verdicts in appeal of the imprisoned prominent teacher unionists Mahdi Abudeeb the President of the Bahrain Teachers Association (BTA) and its Vice President Jalila Al-Salman due to their legitimate peaceful activism for rights and democracy. On 22 October 2012, the appeal court in Bahrain sentenced Mahdi Abudeeb to five years’ and Jalila Al Salman to six months’ imprisonment. The new ruling reduces their initial sentence on 23 September 2011 when Abudeeb and Al Salman were sentenced to ten years’ and three years’ imprisonment, respectively, by a military court with charges of, among other things, inciting hatred towards the regime, calling for a teachers strike, participating and calling for illegal gatherings. AbuDeeb has been in prison since April 2011. Both of them have reported torture to the court, however the allegations went without investigation and the court issued its verdicts in the case. YouTube (Amnesty International : Jalila's urgent call to you, October 2012) The BCHR believes that it is a politicized sentence; linked closely to the role the Teachers Association has played since the beginning of demonstrations in Bahrain. The Association has shown solidarity with the people’s popular demands and has called on teachers to go on strikes to protest the fierce attack on peaceful demonstrators that took place in February 2011 and to put pressure on the government to respect human rights. On 7 April 2011, the BTA was dissolved by the regime for “issuing statements and speeches inciting teachers and students” and “calling for a strike at schools”. The government’s accusations were made to delegitimize the Association, in order to start a campaign of repression and harassment against its members. Many members of the BTA were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, military tribunals, suspension of work, salary cuts, prosecutions, investigation and harassment and violations continues till date.

 

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights call on the Bahraini government to revoke the sentence issued against Mehdi Abudeeb and Jalila Al-Salman and to respect the trade union’s freedom to work. We call on the authorities to stop arbitrary procedures against the Teachers Association of Bahrain and allow it to work freely.

Linked Statements/Reports:

1. Amnesty Int'l: Bahrain must quash the convictions of two teachers

2. Urgent Appeal: Teacher Unionist's Life at Risk in Bahraini Prison

3. Ongoing Human Rights Violations in the Trial of Leaders of the Teachers Association in Bahrain

4. GCHR and BCHR: Bahraini authorities should stop harassing Teachers Association