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Teachers locked up after calling for a strike - tell Bahrain to drop the charges

‘Mama’s tears are heartbreaking…563 days were hard…5 years a nightmare’ – Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb’s daughter responds to him receiving a five year sentence on appeal

In early 2011, as peaceful protests spread across Bahrain, Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb called for a teachers’ strike to support the growing calls for reform. Since Jalila and Mahdi were leaders of the Bahrain Teaching Association, most of us would say that they were just doing their job.


But the Bahrain authorities have since made them pay dearly for their legitimate work. 


By April, both of them were detained. Both spent time in solitary confinement, and both say that they were tortured while being held. Jalila claims that she was left in a freezer for days. She was denied sleep, food, liquid, the right to pray. And she says she was beaten each night with a black hose. When Mahdi was first detained, his family didn’t know where he was for 24 days. Both claim they were forced to sign confessions that they didn’t even get the chance to read. Call for all charges to be dropped

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After spending nearly six months in jail Jalila was released on bail but Mahdi remains behind bars, where he has been held for over 18 months. They were tried by military court and sentenced to three and ten years in prison respectively. Mahdi is a prisoner of conscience.


Having won the right to appeal this harsh sentencing before a civilian court, their friends and families were hopeful the nightmare might finally come to an end. But on 21 October 2012 the appeal court upheld the guilty verdict. 

Their prison sentences were reduced – Mahdi’s to five years, Jalila to six months. But they should never have been arrested in the first place.


All that they did was call for a strike in their role as trade union leaders. Jalila and Mahdi are being punished for doing their job. 

Text to drop the charges

The video above is direct message from Jalila to Amnesty supporters as she awaited the verdict of the appeal. She urges you to take action. Please hear her words and demand that these sentences are quashed and that Mahdi is released immediately and unconditionally. 

This action is now closed.

*Texts charged at standard network rate. Please ask bill-payers permission. To unsubscribe, text STOP AMNESTY to 70004 at any time. See full terms and conditions

What happens to your text?

We will add your name, but not your phone number, to this letter which we’ll send to the Bahrain authorities:

We urge you to release Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly. We urge you not to re-arrest Jalila al-Salman as she would again be considered a prisoner of conscience.

We ask that you quash the convictions and sentences against Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb and Jalila al-Salman; and make public any investigation carried out into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment made by both teachers and bring to justice anyone found responsible.

Prefer to send your own letter? Download the casesheet below for guidance, and where to send your letter.


About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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