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Bahraini Authorities Release Medic

on August 24, 2011

Bahraini authorities released medic Rula Al-Saffar on August 21 following five months of arbitrary detention. Her release comes shortly after her three-week hunger strike to protest her arbitrary arrest and subsequent torture while in detention at the hands of Bahraini authorities.

Rula Al-Saffar was head of the Bahrain Nursing Society and Assistant Professor at the College of Health Sciences.  A cancer survivor, Mrs. Al-Saffar also served as an Executive Board Member of the Bahrain Cancer Society and founder of the National Association for Cancer Awareness.  

While the release of Al-Saffar is encouraging, authorities have not dismissed the charges against her. On 28 August Al-Saffar must appear before military court alongside at least 19 other medical workers who face seemingly trumped-up charges of having treated injured pro-democracy protesters in March.

PHR is also alarmed that contrary to earlier statements guaranteeing civilian trials, pro-democracy activists will now be tried in a military court. Al-Saffar, pro-democracy activists and all other political prisoners must be guaranteed fair trials in civilian courts.

Physicians for Human Rights renews its call for the unconditional release of all detained medics and the dismissal of all charges against those released. PHR calls on the Bassiouni commission of inquiry to conduct medical and psychological evaluations of all persons who have alleged torture by Bahrain authorities.

Places: Bahrain