ACT NOW: Tell Bahrain to free Mahdi!
The global union movement is calling for a massive online protest to get Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the President of the Bahraini Teachers Association (BTA), released from jail.
Mahdi's health is rapidly deteriorating and the authorities have refused him access to medical treatment. He was unjustly jailed for ten years for legitimately leading his union during the nation-wide protests of March 2011.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has called for the release of all political prisoners like Mahdi - a recommendation the authorities continue to ignore. The BICI report also describes detention and torture methods that have been inflicted on Mahdi and other detainees by the authorities. His retrial is on 19 February.
According to Amnesty International, Mahdi and Jalila al-Salman (the BTA's Vice President) appear to have been targeted solely for their leadership of the BTA and for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
The Bahraini authorities have cracked down on teachers and trade unionists through arbitrary arrests, military prosecution, investigation, suspensions, dismissals, salary cuts and torture. While some workers have been reinstated in response to the global outcry, the situation remains dire for most. None of the 55 trade union leaders - including six national leaders - have been reinstated.
For more information see:
Amnesty International (21 December 2011), Health fears for Bahraini teacher
Education International (9 December 2011) Bahrain: Drop all charges against teachers, unionists and student
Issued: 27 January, 2012