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CONTACT: Amnesty International - USA
Amnesty International Fears for Safety of Outspoken Bahrain Education Leader Seized From Home Before Dawn by 30 Security Officials
Human Rights Organization Demands Explanation for Arrest
WASHINGTON - October 19 - Amnesty International said it fears for the safety of Jalila al-Salman, a former vice president of the Bahrain Teacher’s Association, who was taken from her home before dawn Tuesday by 30 security officials after she recently spoke out about the abuses she suffered during an earlier arrest.
Security officials, including riot police, arrived at Al-Salman’s home in seven vehicles saying they were enforcing a court order for her arrest, although they refused to produce a formal arrest warrant.
Last month, al-Salman was convicted on charges that included attempting to overthrow the Bahrain government after a trial before the military National Safety Court. Her appeal is due to be heard in a civilian court on December 1.
“The manner in which Jalila al-Salman was arrested this morning appears to have been intended to intimidate her and her family and to put them through another terrifying ordeal,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.
“She has told us how she was previously ill-treated and verbally abused after she was arrested in the middle of the night by armed officials following popular protests in Bahrain last March. This latest action by the security forces inevitably raises renewed concerns about her safety in detention.”
“The Bahraini authorities also need to explain why Jalila al-Salman has been arrested at a time when others who are waiting for their promised civilian court appeals to be heard have been allowed their release on bail.”
“She does not present a serious flight risk but has continued to speak out about her own experiences in detention and the plight of others, leading us to fear that this is the reason for the action taken against her this morning.”
Al-Salman was sentenced to three years of imprisonment on September 25. Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, former president of the Bahrain Teacher’s Association, was tried with her and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The charges included using their positions within the BTA to call for a teachers’ strike, organize marches and demonstrations, incite "hatred of the regime" and seek its overthrow by force. Amnesty International views the trial as unfair.
In recent weeks, al-Salman has given a media interview and spoken at a conference about the human rights situation in Bahrain.
Amnesty International said that it feared both al-Salman and Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb may be imprisoned solely on account of their legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, in which case they should be released immediately and unconditionally and their convictions should be quashed.