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REPORT - Related Background Information on the Expulsion of the Students

REPORT - Related Background Information on the Expulsion of the Students

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Special Report

10th of July, 2011

Bahrain Polytechnic
Expels 63 Students
Related Background Information

1

For more information: expelledstudent@gmail.com

In June 2011, Bahrain Polytechnic took action against 63 students after investigations held on campus by a special probe committee. This document contains related background information on the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain as a whole, and the details that lead to the expulsion of the students.

2

The Uprising of

14th February

2011

3

On February 14th pro-democracy supporters in the Kingdom Bahrain protested peacefully in their areas demanding for political reforms, more rights and better living conditions as a result Security forces brutally cracked down on them and killed one of the demonstrators while many were injured. On February 15th, police attacked the funeral of the first victim of the crackdown and killed a second protester. The King of Bahrain came on national TV and showed sympathy for families of the victims and asked for investigations to be conducted. Pro-democracy supporters used the Pearl Roundabout as the base of protests just as Tahrir square in Egypt. They felt safe after the King’s speech. On February 17th at around 3 am, while people were sleeping at the Pearl Roundabout the police attacked them again. At least 4 were killed and many others were wounded.
Note : Bahrain Polytechnic students were on a holiday in that period

4

Bahrain Polytechnic Events Timeline
2 0 11
3rd March 13th March Bahrain Polytechnic opened again. The attacks on the University of Bahrain and the crackdown at the Pearl Roundabout.

14th March

Bahrain Polytechnic suspended classes in fear of unrest in the campus or any incidents similar to the UoB scenario.
Royal Decree No. 25 stated that the Education Minister, Dr. Majid Al Nuaimi would be in charge of Bahrain Polytechnic. Polytechnic students returned to campus in batches, and normal classes resumed.

6th April

20th To the 27th of April

5

The Text Messages of John Scott
John Scott the CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic sent a lot of text messages to all the students. In the messages, he made it clear that the Polytechnic is a neutral place and that it respects and welcomes everyone regardless of their differences. Here are some of the text messages the CEO sent:

3rd March 2011 (First Comeback to the Polytechnic After the Holiday)
“ Welcome back to the Bahrain Polytechnic family at this time of turmoil within Bahrain.  In any family there will be different ideas and views but please remember Bahrain Polytechnic was established for all Bahraini to help develop future leaders who show respect for fellow students, staff, the Polytechnic and Bahrain. Part2: Bahrain Polytechnic can best help that process by remaining a neutral place for all students to share ideas and learn from each other.  We welcome student initiatives which contribute positively to building one Bahrain, respectful of the views of others and safe for all. Part3: Students who choose to join in demonstrations outside the Polytechnic should not refer to themselves as representing the Polytechnic . Classes will run as usual and students choosing to miss class will be marked as absent.  This is your Polytechnic. All of you share a love for Bahrain which can best be demonstrated by working together to bring about changes which improve things for everyone.  John Scott 6 CEO “

22nd March 2011
“ Dear Students, as part of our preparation for your safe return to the Poly I ask each of you to consider the Following.
The Poly has to be a place of peace and safety for all. We know many of you have different ideas. Some of you may be angry or afraid but the Poly can't allow these feelings or ideas to cause difficulties or interfere with other students. We want you back but we only want you to return if you are ready to study peacefully. John “

23rd March 2011
“Dear Students, I hope you are all well and have thought about how you will help ensure the safe return of ALL your fellow students. We need to be sure there will be no trouble for ANYONE. That is up to you. You need to examine your heart and be able to say you will do nothing to cause other students to feel threatened or unsafe. I know there are strong feelings but you must be prepared to leave these outside the Polytechnic. John CEO”

7

26th march 2011
“Dear Students, My heart is heavy as I read your emails and your messages. The Poly remains neutral; not because we don't care about your hurt and sadness but because we understand that feelings are high. The polytechnic must be one place where you can feel safe and respected. We want you all back but for that to happen everyone must be prepared to be calm and help us ensure there is no trouble like at the UoB. We are all one is God's sight. John Scott CEO”

14th April 2011 “Dear Students, I must ask you to think about returning in a very positive way. Everyone MUST FEEL SAFE AND WELCOME.  Therefore, you must make a commitment not to get involved in any trouble or bad behavior towards your fellow students. YOU can show how the youth of Bahrain can lead with tolerance, and kindness towards each other. If you can't, we will ask you to leave until you can. I don't believe there will be trouble. I trust you.  John CEO”

18th April 2011 ( Second Comeback to the Polytechnic)

“Dear Students, GREAT NEWS The Polytechnic will be opening from Wednesday 20 with the Foundation (CAP) students. The full details for your return is on the Poly website www.polytechnic.bh Please DO NOT come back until you are advised as you will not be allowed through the gate. We will be doing all we can to ensure your safe return so I expect you ALL to come on the day you are to return. I look forward to seeing you soon. John Scott CEO”
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The Code of Conduct Agreement which every student had to sign in the first day back

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All students respected the request of Polytechnic’s CEO John Scott, so clashes and any other possible acts of violence were easily avoided. Bahrain Polytechnic stayed safe despite the conflicts outside campus walls. Classes were normally running, assignments were submitted as planned, and students looked forward to completing the semester as scheduled.

10

The Investigation
On 9th of May 2011, Bahrain Polytechnic started investigating with the students, while classes went according to schedule. No conflicts or political problems took place within campus at that time. The panel consisted of four Bahraini members. Two of them were Polytechnic staff and the other two were from the ministry of education.

Dr. Mohammed Assiri
Deputy CEO. Bahrain Polytechnic

m.alaseeri@polytechnic.bh

Dr. Hasan Almulla
Director of the Academic Affairs Bahrain Polytechnic

Hasan.Almulla@polytechnic.​bh

Anfal Nofel Al Dosri
Legalٍ Researcher Ministry of Education

Eman Janahi
Scribe of Statements
11

Every investigation session took an average of 1 hour, during which, they asked questions regarding the involvement of the student in the recent pro-democratic movement in Bahrain. They mainly used the students’ private Facebook account posts, twitter, their Windows Live activities as well as other social networking activities as evidence against the students, to add pressure on them.

In some cases, they showed pictures of the students while participating in peaceful marches or gatherings that took place off campus.

12

The most common questions asked by the Investigation committee :
• Do you know that the government pays a lot of money on behalf of you to study at Bahrain Polytechnic? • Do you have a Facebook account? •Did you go the Pearl Roundabout? When? And how many times? • Did you participate in any marches or gatherings? • Did you see any pictures or hear any chants that contains any hateful messages against the government or the royal family? • Are you a member of any political organization or society? Some students also got degrading comments targeting their families; many students were insulted and even accused of doing things they did not do. After the investigation finishes, they ask the students to sign on their statements and leave. The student can go back to the classes after the investigation is done. The investigation procedures at Bahrain Polytechnic went on almost daily basis for around 4 weeks, and they have investigated more than 65 students.

13

John Scott Text Message During the Investigation period Dear students, You know there are investigations taking place so I need to give you some advice. If you are using Facebook to make any anti-government comments or to spread rumors about other students STOP IMMEDIATELY or you will be identified and possibly be questioned by the police. I am proud of Polytechnic students and how you have been since you returned. Thank you for obeying the rules. Please accept this advice and stay safe. John 26-5-2011

14

The Expulsion
On the 12th of Jun, Bahrain Polytechnic expelled few students permanently. The following days they expelled over 60 students, who had been investigated with earlier.

The process of expelling the students:
Calls were made to the students and they were asked to immediately go to the administration building. They would ask the students to bring their student ID card and locker keys along. Once the student arrives, they take the student ID card and give the letter of expulsion and ask them to sign a paper confirming that the student has received the letter. After that, the security escort the student out. After a few days of the expulsion, the Polytechnic called the expelled students asking them to ask someone else from Bahrain Polytechnic to take their transcripts instead of them since they are not allowed in campus anymore. Although most of the students were expelled permanently, a few of them were only suspended for a semester or one year. Students who got suspended for a year or one semester were threatened to be permanently expelled in case it is proven that they repeat their actions again.

Statistics :
Punishment Permanent Expulsion One Semester / One Year Suspension Number 49 14

Total

63

The Letters of Expulsion
15

Expulsion Letter Translation
Note: This is an unofficial translation of the expulsion letter

Final Expulsion From Bahrain Polytechnic
Student Name Student ID Major According to the recommendation issued from the Investigation Committee held on the 17th of May, 2011, according to the decree (2011/37), and after viewing your record of statements, the violations held against you were proven with certainty, including participating in unlicensed gatherings and marches, carrying offensive mottos to the political leaders, urging for the downfall of the regime and offending the political leaders of the Kingdom. This action is considered a violation to the third article of law No. (27) of the year 2005 on Education, and after reviewing the Royal Decree No. (65) of 2008 regarding the establishment and organization of Bahrain Polytechnic, and based on the regulations list organized for monitoring students, stopping education, the cancellation and refusal of enrollment: A/AB/011 , as well as the list of registration organization and academic progress: A/AB/018, it was decided that you have been expelled starting from the second semester of 2010/2011.

Signature
(On Behalf of) John Scott CEO

Note : The original letter of expulsion in Arabic is attached

16

The ALLEGED Violations
The letter of expulsion stated that the students have violated the third article of Bahrain law No. (27) of the year 2005 on Education. When searching for the statement from the official legal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain website, it appeared that the statement actually is irrelevant. Ironically, the statement mentions and acknowledges “The right of free expression” while Polytechnic investigated the students based on the students’ posts on their social networking accounts.

17

The Statement of the law allegedly violated by the students
Law No. (27) for the year 2005 on education - Article III
Education aims to configure the learner configuration and a national, scientifically and professionally, and culturally from the aspects of emotional, moral, mental, social, health, behavioral and sports, in the framework of the principles of Islam and Arab heritage and contemporary culture and the nature of the Bahraini society, customs and traditions, and to instill the spirit of citizenship and loyalty to the homeland and the King and, in particular: 1 - Consolidation of the Islamic faith and to confirm its role in the integration of the individual's personality, family cohesion and the unity of community and cooperation and to emphasize the role of Islam as a comprehensive life-expired and every time and place and ability to cope with the requirements of the times. 2 - Deepen the close links between the countries of the Cooperation Council for Arab Gulf countries and promote Arab and Islamic affiliation. 3 - Promotion of Arabic language teaching and upgrading it, so as to master and use in various fields of knowledge, with attention to education and mastery of foreign languages.

4 – Developing the awareness of the principles of human rights and inclusion in educational curricula.
5 – Developing the concepts of education for peace, and better future for mankind, and international cooperation and solidarity, on the basis of justice and equality, interaction and mutual respect among all nations and peoples. 6 – Developing the environmental awareness and human heritage and the protection of wildlife and ways to preserve it. 7 – Developing the national capacities capable of work and production to contribute to society in the formation of learner's product line with technological and scientific progress and constant changes in this area.

8 – Developing the individual's ability to think critically, the right of free expression and enable creativity and innovation and contribute to the social and economic progress and scientific and technical support.
9 – Developing the searching skills for knowledge and self-learning through various means and communication; with their sources employ methods and means of advanced information technologies to serve the educational process.

Source : http://www.legalaffairs.gov.bh/viewhtm.aspx?ID=K2705

18

John Scott Final Text Messages
Msg 1 : Dear students, I write this message with a very heavy heart. I know many of you will be deeply distressed and sad with what happened to friends and colleges The legal position is that dismissed and suspended students were found guilty of breaking the law of Bahrain and were required to impose penalties similar to those applied in other government funded organizations. Msg2: However, Bahrain Polytechnic is still committed to you our students and we will we can to ensure you can study in a safe and respected institution. To do this we must win the confidence of the government and the wider community and we need you, our students to believe in your Polytechnic.

May Allah's blessing be on you all
John CEO 14TH of Jun 2011

19

Many of the expelled students were those who excelled academically and most of them were considered to be the most active, ambitious and creative students. They were positively involved in different in and off campus activities.

20

Contact Information

Bahrain Polytechnic Stakeholders
Dr. Majid Bin Ali Al-Naimi
Minister of Education Fax: +973 1768 0161, +973 1768 4493 Minister@moe.gov.bh akhbar-alterbia@maktoob.com

Mr. John Scott
CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic Fax +973 17683065 John.Scott@polytechnic.bh

Dr. Mohammed Assiri
Deputy CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic m.alaseeri@polytechnic.bh

21

News Published About The Expulsion
• First, H. R. (2011, Jun 24). Bahraini Students Forced to Choose Between Loyalty to the Regime and an Education. Retrieved from humanrightsfirst.org: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/2011/06/24/bahrainistudents-forced-to-choose-between-loyalty-to-the-regime-and-aneducation/

Jazeera, A. (2011, Jun 14). An Online Crackdown in Kuwait and Bahrain. Retrieved from http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/kuwait

Reuters. (2011, Jun 29). In divided Bahrain, students pay price for protests. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/29/usbahrain-students-idUSTRE75S3DM20110629 Rights, B. C. (2011, June). Bahrain: Urgent Appeal: Growing violations to the University Students' rights to education and freedom of expression. Retrieved from http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4190

There is a separate document which contains all the published news about the expelled students from Bahrain Polytechnic, if you wish to receive the updated version of the document email Expelledstudent@gmail.com 22

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