There must be an immediate investigation into claims an imprisoned teachers’ union leader in Bahrain has been tortured, members at the NASUWT’s annual conference in Birmingham was told.
An emergency motion condemned the “brutal and inhumane” treatment of members of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) by the authorities.
President of the BTA Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Deeb has provided a detailed and shocking account of torture and ill-treatment he has endured since his arrest for taking part in a protest last year.
Mahdi Issa Mahdi Adu Dheeb, who has already had hearings suspended twice without being allowed bail, has explained how he had been tortured and ill-treated.
This included torture in different locations, including at Gurein prison, where he spent several weeks in solitary confinement.
The NASUWT regards Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Deeb and BTA Vice President Jalilia al-Salman as prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned purely for exercising their peaceful democratic rights.
The motion passed at Conference called for the unconditional release of the BTA President, to ensure they are protected from torture and demanded an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into the claims of torture.
Dr Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of the NASUWT said: “The motion passed today shows the depth of feeling and anger felt here at Conference over the treatment of Mahdi.
“We stand united with our colleagues in the BTA who have faced unjustified attacks on their ability to exercise their rights as trade unionists.
“They have been imprisoned and mistreated by the Bahraini authorities purely for demonstrating against the regime. This Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the imprisonment of our colleagues in Bahrain and demands their immediate release.
NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Notes to Editors
Mahdi Issa Mahdi Adu Dheeb’s trial has been postponed once more until 2 May and once again he has been refused bail.
The NASUWT and the global education and trade union movement are now seriously concerned for his safety.
The Conference Speech by Ex-President John Rimmer is attached.
The full text of the motion is below:
2(b) Motion B
Conference condemns the brutal and inhumane treatment of members of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) by the Bahraini authorities.
Conference asserts that there is no evidence that Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb (BTA President) or Jalila al Salman (BTA Vice President) has used or advocated violence during the protests of February and March 2011.
Conference regards Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman to be prisoners of conscience who have been unjustly imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Conference believes that the abusive treatment of members of the BTA is part of a deliberate attempt to undermine the ability of the BTA to organise and is a contravention of international human rights law.
Conference is deeply concerned that the repression of teachers and students has not been stopped, and that arbitrary arrests, detentions and torture continue unabated.
Conference demands that the Bahraini authorities act immediately to:
(i) release Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb unconditionally;
(ii) drop all charges against Mahdi Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al Salman;
(iii) ensure that the leaders of the BTA are protected from torture and other ill-treatment;
(iv) reinstate those teachers who have been dismissed and those students who have been expelled, together with their salaries and scholarships and
(v) order an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment, publish the results and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Conference urges the Bahraini authorities to commit to respecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of teachers, students and union activists in accordance with international standards.