End persecution of Bahraini teaching union leaders, says TUC
The TUC is calling on the Bahraini Government to drop the sentences handed out to the leaders of the Bahrain Teachers' Association, and to end its persecution of the thousands of Bahraini workers arrested, sentenced or sacked for doing nothing more than exercising their legitimate trade union rights.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has today written to Bahrain's Ambassador to the UK calling for their release and for the Bahraini government to 'immediately and unconditionally release those jailed or compensate or reinstate those sacked'.
Please add your voice to the call by signing the petition from Education International.
11 October 2011
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Sentencing of Bahrain Teacher's Association leaders
Further to my letter of 2 August 2011, I was alarmed to learn that President Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Vice President Jalila al-Salman of the Bahrain Teacher's Association (BTA) were recently sentenced to 10 and three years respectively. Like hundreds of others that your government has arrested, sentenced or sacked this year, they were doing nothing more than exercising their legitimate rights as trade unionists.
Their sentences were handed down by a military court in Bahrain on 25 September 2011, under procedures that Amnesty International describes as a 'charade'. They have been denied their right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial court.
I understand that they will be appearing before a civilian appeals court on 1 December 2011. Yet they should have never been charged in the first place. I share the conclusion of Amnesty International that Jalila and Madhi appear to have been targeted solely on account of their leadership of the BTA and peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, in which case they are prisoners of conscience who should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Jalila and Mahdi allege that they have been subjected to beatings and abuse while in prison. Mahdi in particularly was in solitary confinement for 64 days and was beaten on the head, back and legs and forced to remain standing for prolonged periods of time.
They are just two out of the hundreds, if not thousands, including journalists, teachers and medics that have been arrested, sentenced or sacked by your government this year for doing nothing more than exercising their legitimate freedoms. This includes, for example, the 217 workers at Gulf Air who were dismissed without reason back in April. Like Jalila and Mahdi, many also allege that your government has subjected them to torture.
I urge your government to immediately and unconditionally release those jailed or compensate or reinstate those sacked. I also urge the authorities to protect its citizens from torture and other ill-treatment and immediately order a full, impartial and independent investigation into their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, publish its results and bring to justice any persons found responsible.
The TUC, along with the global trade union movement and human rights organisations will continue to campaign until your government respects the rights of all workers and citizens. Each day of that campaign will further tarnish Bahrain's international reputation.
I look forward to your reply, including to my previously unanswered letters of 24 May and 2 August where I raised similar concerns.
Issued: 13 October, 2011