Bahrain: Free Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman
UPDATE 23.1.13: Ms Jalila al-Salman, acting Chair of the BTA (in lieu of Mahdi Abu Dheeb, detained since April 2011), - was released from prison on 25 November, 2012 after serving the six-month prison term upheld by the Manama Court on 25 October. Her colleague Mahdi Abu Dheeb is nevertheless still serving 5 years in the Jaw prison. The BTA leader will have his last chance of appeal before the Bahraini Court of Cassation at the end of January/beginning of February. International solidarity is crucial to help setting free Mahdi who is unjustly detained.
On 21 October an appeal court upheld the guilty verdict against the Bahraini Teachers’ Association (BTA) leaders, Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman, but reduced their prison sentences to five years and six months respectively. Mahdi and Jalila, respectively President and Vice-President of BTA, were arrested in 2011 after supporting calls for reform in Bahrain. Whilst in detention they were subjected to torture and forced to sign “confessions”.
In September 2011, a military court convicted them of attempting to overthrow the ruling system by force and inciting hatred of the regime. The report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry last year found that the authorities had grossly exaggerated, if not manufactured, many claims brought against thousands of ordinary people who had been caught up in the February 2011 Arab Spring protests. Mahdi and Jalila’s only “crime” was to have the temerity to promote respect for the values of solidarity, equality and democracy.
We need you to increase pressure on the Bahraini Government to respect human and trade union rights. EI calls on authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mahdi, to ensure that Jalila does not serve any of her remaining sentence, and to drop all charges against them.