EI welcomed the release from prison of Jalila Al-Salman, the acting President of the Bahraini Teachers’ Association (BTA), on 25 November.
Her colleague, Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the BTA President, is nevertheless still serving five years in the Jaw prison.
Mahdi and Jalila were condemned, respectively, to 10 and three years in prison by a military court in September 2011. The verdict was upheld by the Manama Court on 21 October, but the sentences were reduced to five years and six months respectively.
Jalila had been unjustly detained on false charges, for simply exercising her right to freedom of assembly and demanding reforms in the educational system in Bahrain.
Many serious human and trade union rights issues remain to be tackled in Bahrain, and violations of basic trade union rights need to be addressed.
EI deeply regrets that Jalila’s time in prison occurred under difficult conditions.
In addition, Mahdi was denied medical treatment required by his doctor, as well as medical tools provided by his family following doctors’ orders. As a result, his back and knees are in a bad and worsening condition.
EI: Fight continues
“While EI cautiously welcomes Jalila’s release, it reminds us that we still have to fight hard for Mahdi to assume his rightful place as a leader of the Bahraini Teachers’ Association,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.
“While welcoming this important step forward, EI, on behalf of its member organisations around the world, once again calls on Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally set Mahdi free,” he added.
This release is the result of international pressure exerted by EI and its affiliates worldwide, a clear signal that international solidarity is crucial to help Mahdi, unjustly detained, be released.
EI encourages its affiliates and concerned citizens to continue giving visibility to both appeals on the EI and Labour start websites