[JURIST] A Bahrain appeals court upheld verdicts against two teachers on Sunday for organizing a teachers’ strike early last year to support anti-government protests [JURIST news archive]. At their first hearing in front of a military tribunal, the pair were convicted of using their positions as vice-president and president of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) to attempt to overthrow the Bahraini government through a teachers’ strike that halted the educational process and “incited hatred” against the regime. No evidence [AI backgrounder] has been presented that they used or advocated violence of any means. Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb was sentenced to five years in prison while Jalila al-Salman was given a six-month sentence. Abu Dheeb has been detained for 18 months. Al-Salman was in confinement for five months but was released on bail. However, al-Salman has alleged torture while being detained.
Bahrain has faced international criticism for its crackdown against dissidents since anti-government protests began last year. Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Bahrain’s court of appeals to overturn [press release] the conviction of human right advocate Nabeel Rajab [JURIST news archive]. HRW contends that there is no evidence of Rajab participating in violence and that his conviction is a violation of his right to peaceful assembly. Earlier this month the Bahrain Court of Cassation upheld jail sentences [JURIST report] for nine medics convicted for their involvement in Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprisingAccording to BNA, the medics were working at Salmaniya Medical Complex [official website], and, during the time of the uprising, “took over the complex, detained and imprisoned kidnapped persons, and transformed the hospital to a place of illegal gathering and strikes, in violation of laws.” Last month government officials pledged to fulfill [JURIST report] the 158 recommendations included in the UN Universal Periodic Review [materials] regarding human rights abuses against political opposition. HRW called on Bahrain to follow through with their promises, but raised doubts as to whether the government is fully committed to reform.
THIS DAY @ LAW
Saint Lucia gains independence
On February 22, 1979, Saint Lucia gained independence from the United Kingdom, becoming a sovereign nation.