Mahdi Abu Deeb, president of the Bahraini Teachers’ Association was sentenced to 5 years in prison on 21 October, while BTA vice-president Jalila al-Salman faces 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.
Mahdi Abu-Deeb’s daughter, Maryam, was in court to hear her father’s sentence. She wrote on Twitter “Mama’s tears are heartbreaking … 563 days were hard … 5 years are a nightmare”. She was prevented from hugging her father, who was handcuffed and dragged out of court after the verdict was announced.
What you can do:
- Sign Amnesty International’s online petition
- Pass a resolution in your union branch to send a letter of protest to the Bahraini authorities
- Print out this sign (Mahdi and Jalila freedom), take a photo and send it to us online via Facebook or Twitter (@menasolidarity) and we will send it to Mahdi and Jalila’s supporters in Bahrain.