News and Support from The NASUWT
The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has called for the unconditional release of a teachers’ trade union leader on the fourth anniversary of his imprisonment by the Bahraini authorities.
Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA), was arrested in 2011 for nothing more than his commitment to organising and representing the interests of teachers and calling for quality education for all children and young people in Bahrain.
Representatives at the NASUWT’s Annual Conference in Cardiff have today called for Madhi’s release, staging a silent protest against his continuing detention.
Jalila al-Salman, Vice President of the Bahrain Teachers Association and Shane Enright from Amnesty UK joined the NASUWT Conference to call for Mahdi’s release. Amnesty is campaigning with the NASUWT for Mahdi’s freedom and to secure respect for trade unions rights in Bahrain.
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:
“Today – 6 April 2015 – marks the fourth anniversary of Mahdi’s imprisonment by the Bahrain authorities.
“Mahdi has done nothing more than we at this Conference believe to be important –organising and representing the interests of teachers, and calling for quality education for all children and young people in Bahrain.
“Mahdi is a prisoner of conscience who has been unjustly detained on false charges for simply exercising his right to freedom of assembly and demanding reforms to Bahrain’s educational system.”
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT Deputy General Secretary, said:
“Whilst in prison, Mahdi has been subjected to repeated abuse and torture.
“The NASUWT denounces without reservation the unacceptable treatment, abuse and continued torture of Mahdi by the Bahrain authorities.
“The NASUWT will not rest until Mahdi is released and teachers in Bahrain have the right to organise their union without interference or intimidation.”
Jalila al-Salman, Vice-President of the Bahrain Teachers Association, said:
“We Bahraini teachers highly appreciate the work of the NASUWT in standing with us and supporting us. We really count on their continuous support which helped, along with support from Amnesty and others, to decrease Mahdi’s sentence from 10 years to five years and mine from three years to six months.
“We thank them and we will continue to work together until we in Bahrain are free and until the BTA can get back to work as usual.”
Shane Enright, Global Trade Union Advisor for Amnesty International, said:
“In the UK thousands of schoolchildren, college students, Amnesty activists, teachers and trade unionists have come together to shine a light on this injustice to the Bahrain and UK authorities-we say we will not go away.
“We thank and applaud the NASUWT for its steadfast solidarity and partnership.”