Bahrain: Court of Cassation rejects appeal of imprisoned unionist
The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain center for Human rights (BCHR) call for the immediate release of human rights defenders and president of the Bahrain Teachers Society, Mahdi AbuDeeb, who has had his appeal rejected on 01 July 2013 by the Court of Cassation, alongside with the vice president Ms Jalila Al-Salman.
Mahdi AbuDeeb is in detention since 6 April 2011, currently serving a 5 years imprisonment sentence at Jaw prison. on 23 September 2011 Mahdi and Jalila were sentenced by a military court to 10 and 3 years imprisonment respectively for calling to a teachers strike. On 21 October 2012 their sentences were reduced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment respectively. They were charged with halting the educational process, inciting hatred, attempting to overthrow the ruling system by force. Jalila has been released after she served the 6 months prison sentences, but barred from teaching in state schools due to her conviction.
When AbuDeeb was arrested, he was thrown from the second floor then taken by the security forces. He was held incommunicado for more than a month with no access to his family or lawyer, and kept in solitary confinement for the whole period until his first military court hearing on 7 June 2011. He reported that the security forces subjected him to severe torture and ill-treatment. Both Abudeeb and Al-Salman have reported torture to the court during their trial, however the allegations were not investigated although the court issued its verdicts in the case.
According to new reports received by both the GCHR and BCHR, AbuDeeb is still subjected to harassments at Jaw prison. On 6 June 2013 he was denied visitation rights for refusing to replace his medical shoes with the regular prison sandals. AbuDeeb wears the medical shoes as a health requirement due to the torture he was subjected to immediately after his arrest.
The GCHR and BCHR call on the Bahraini government to immediately release Mehdi AbuDeeb and to revoke the sentences issued against him and his colleague Jalila Al-Salman and to respect the trade union’s freedom to work. We also call on government of Bahrain to stop arbitrary procedures against the Teachers Association of Bahrain and allow it to work freely and reinstate the dismissed teachers to their previous jobs and the abolition of all administrative penalties issued against them and their colleagues.