Free Bahrain Teachers' Leaders!
Two leaders of the Bahrain Teachers Association have been jailed for 3 and 10 years
The President of BTA - Mahdi Abu Dheeb and the Vice Presedent Jalila al-Salman - were sentenced on Sunday for: ‘Exploitation of the Association of Teachers to incite crimes such as calling for teachers’ sit-ins; disruption of the educational process in the Bahraini Kingdom by demonstrations and sit-ins in front of schools; calls on parents not to send their children to school; promotion of an overthrow of government; inciting hatred by broadcasting false news, and gathering in public places to disrupt public order and the educational process in the Kingdom.’
Mahdi Abu Dheeb was thrown from a second floor window by securiy forces when he was arrested in April , held in solitary confinement without access to family or lawyer and tortured. He has been on hunger strike since September 11th. Jamila al-Salman was arrested in March. She was held in solitary confinement for two months and also tortured.
Teachers went on strike at the beginning of the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain and since that time they and their students have been under sustained attack. There were reports of children being pulled from buses by security forces helped by the Saudi militaryand beaten up if they did not have the picture of the King of Bahrain in their textbooks.
Meanwhile Western governments - like the US and the UK - who pay lip service to democracy when it fits with their interests - continue to do business with Bahrain. The Financial Times reports that a defence pact between Bahrain and the US, which was due to be renewed this month, has been extended to 2016 . It reports a senior US official as saying: “Bahrain is a long-standing partner and ally, and we are publicly and privately committed to that partnership.” The US has military bases inside the country. To read the FT article in full go to: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6bdc0118-d40b-11e0-b7eb-00144feab49a.html#axzz1Z8xQrO00
Education International (EI) and other international trade union and human rights organisations have called for the immediate release of the two. To read EI's call, which also includes an online form to send a message of protest to the Bahraini authorities, go to: http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/news_details/1966. Send a message of protest via EI or email the Bahraini Embassy at
Ambassador Mrs Alice Thomas Samaan
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
30 BELGRAVE SQUARE
LONDON, SW1X 8QB
Telephone: (+44) 0207 201 9170
Fax: (+44) 0207 201 9183