The Bahrain Australian Youth Movement (BAYM) condemns the verdict delivered to Mahdi Abu Deeb, president of the Bahraini Teachers’ Association, yesterday who was sentenced to 5 years in prison alongside BTA vice-president Jalila al-Salman facing a jail term of six months. They were arrested for supporting protests and strikes in February 2011 calling for democratic reform in Bahrain, and tortured into confessions.
Amnesty International called the sentences ‘outrageous’, and global teachers’ unions have been leading a campaign for the charges to be dropped. Mahdi has already spent nearly two years in jail in appalling conditions.
“Teachers have been at the forefront against the brutal crackdown in Bahrain since security forces started abducting students from classrooms last year. Mahdi Abdu Dheeb has been a leading figure in the protest movement and has been heavily persecuted for exercising what should be a basic trade union right to organize strikes”, said Abdul Elah Al Hubaishi, Bahraini refugee in Sydney and member of BAYM.
BAYM is calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Bahrain including Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman, demanding that Bahraini authorities respect rights to peaceful assembly, fair trial and freedom of expression.
“The regime in Bahrain is drunk on violence. The terror intensifies daily. Since Friday Al Eker village has been under siege. No food or medical equipment is being permitted entry. Civilian homes, with many women children and elderly people inside, are being attacked indiscriminately”, continued Al Hubaishi.
“We need the international community to raise their voices. In Australia we are working to build a campaign of solidarity to expose the daily crimes against humanity being committed in front of a silent international audience”, concluded Al Hubaishi.
Please find attached a BAYM briefing document with more information about the persecution of trade unions in Bahrain as well as outreach to Australian trade unions for solidarity.
ABDUL ELAH AL-HUBAISHI (BAHRAIN AUSTRALIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT)
0452 211 581