By Alice Finden
Farida Ghulam, wife of Bahraini political prisoner of conscience Ebrahim Sharif, Amnesty International’s trade union campaigns manager Shane Enright and author Marc Owen Jones joined a panel discussion to launch Bahrain’s Uprising on 7 October.
The book, which is edited by Ala’a Shehabi and Marc makes a vital contribution in its field by helping amplify the voices of the ‘forgotten revolution’ of Bahrain. It also explores British involvement in Human Rights abuses in the country. As Marc Owen Jones told us, the book records the many stories of activism coming out of Bahrain since 2011, yet often overlooked by western audiences.
Bahrain’s Uprising is being released at a time when western complicity in Gulf monarchy’s repression is coming under greater scrutiny. Farida Ghulam shed light on her husband Ebrahim Sharif’s imprisonment for speaking out against the regime. Sharif has stood in peaceful protest of the Bahraini regime for years, calling for genuine democracy and reform. He was imprisoned in 2011 and charged with “inciting changing the country’s political regime, and publicly inciting hatred against the regime”. Despite being released this summer, he was quickly rearrested on trumped up charges, and remains behind bars.The next hearing in his case will take place on 12 November, and he faces up to ten years in jail if convicted.
A question from the audience brought about a discussion of trade union activity within Bahrain. Bahrain is the most unionised country within the MENA region. The repressive Bahraini regime targeted striking and protesting teachers and nurses in 2011. The imprisonment of Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association who, like Ebrahim Sharif, is a prisoner of conscience, has sparked an international campaign. There are concerns over his health and lack of access to medical care.
Amnesty is campaigning alongside some of the biggest teaching trade unions in the UK including the NUT and NASUWT. Early this year representatives met with the Bahraini ambassador in the UK in order to raise their concerns. Meanwhile, campaigns of solidarity have been supported by British students throughout the UK.
What you can do:
- Write to the Bahraini authorities via the Embassy of Bahrain in your country, calling for the immediate release of Ebrahim Sharif and other political prisoners in Bahrain
- Bahrain’s Uprising is available from Zed Books – buy online here