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PHR Calls For Open and Fair Trials in Bahrain

Andrea Gittleman, JD on June 16, 2011

PHR delivers letters of concern to the Bahraini embassy

PHR delivered 815 letters from concerned individuals all over the world to the Embassy of Bahrain. The letters expressed the outrage of the international community at the government attacks on doctors and medical facilities in the wake of popular protests earlier this year. PHR thanks all those who wrote letters and took a stand against the illegal treatment of the Bahraini medical professionals. 

But our work is not yet done. 48 medical professionals who were arrested for treating protesters are now facing trial before a hybrid military court. These trials are troubling for several reasons. PHR documented extensive violations by the Bahraini government after the protests that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the charges against the defendants. The government’s use of a military trial for these cases raises serious doubts about how the rights of civilians can be adequately protected.

Additionally, PHR has received calls from the defendants’ families that indicate that the defendants have been tortured and forced to sign false confessions in detention. PHR has also received information that the court prevented the defendants from speaking about the torture they suffered at the hands of the government. Acts of torture and ill-treatment are egregious violations of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s obligations under international human rights law. 

PHR calls on the Kingdom of Bahrain to ensure that all court proceedings adhere to international legal standards and remain open to observers. Given the reports of torture and ill-treatment of individuals in detention, the Kingdom of Bahrain must immediately conduct an investigation of the treatment of those in detention, hold perpetrators of abuses accountable, and provide reparation to victims.

Places: Bahrain