Created on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 12:18 Written by EI
Last spring, while Tunisians and Egyptians celebrated the fall of authoritarian regimes, the people of Bahrain also staged a series of peaceful protests. They were met by fierce repression.
Leaders of the teachers' union were arrested and sentenced to long jail terms. This weekend, their appeal comes before the courts.
The Education International, representing some thirty million unionized teachers around the world, has called for a major online campaign to press the Bahraini government to drop the charges.
Education International (EI) calls on you to urge the Bahraini authorities to review the charges and convictions and commute sentences of all teachers, teacher unionists and students charged with offences related to exercise of freedom of speech and right to assemble.
The appeals of the Vice-President and President of the Bahraini Teachers Association (BTA) , on Sunday 11 December, are amongst EI’s concerns.
Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb are appealing of the sentences issued in September by the military National Safety Court of First Instance to three and ten years’ imprisonment, for their involvement in peaceful protests last March.
Seven other BTA board members are also on trial and 76 teachers have been sacked for similar baseless reasons. A larger number of teachers are still suspended.
Most BTA Board members and sacked and suspended teachers have had the opportunity to share their experience with Fred van Leeuwen, EI General Secretary, during his mission to Bahrain in November.
All reported on the unjust treatment they suffered.
The revision of the convictions is also highlighted in the strong recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) .
On 23 November, it recommended the Bahraini authorities “to review convictions and commute sentences of all persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, or, as the case may be, to drop outstanding charges against them.”
International Labour Organisation jurisprudence stresses the importance of the “principle of prompt and fair trial by an independent and impartial judiciary in all cases, including cases in which trade unionists are charged with political or criminal offences.”