The government responded Wednesday to criticism by Amnesty International and others who have charged that the Persian Gulf monarchy is intensifying its repression of dissidents, and abandoning reforms it promised after cracking down on a popular uprising last year. The government drew fresh criticism on Wednesday, when a court sentenced 23 medical workers to three months in prison on the charge of “illegal gathering,” according to Physicians for Human Rights.
A court in Bahrain sentenced 23 medical professionals to three-month jail terms on charges that included supporting protesters during the early weeks of the uprising last year. The US-based Physicians for Human Rights group expressed dismay at the decision.
PHR today expressed dismay at the decision by Bahrain’s Lower Criminal Court to sentence 23 health professionals to three months in prison on charges of illegally gathering during Arab spring protests in 2011. Five others were acquitted.
Nearly five months after being acquitted of crimes related to Bahrain’s anti-government uprising, some Shi’ite medics remain suspended from work and fear they may never practice medicine in the country again. A senior researcher with Physicians for Human Rights, Abdulrazzaq al-Saiedi, says he believes the government is behind the ongoing interrogations.
“We urge all demonstrators to protest peacefully and exercise restraint,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, who has investigated human rights abuses in Bahrain. “We also urge the Bahraini government to end its ban on all public demonstrations and allow citizens to exercise their fundamental rights of expression and assembly.”