PHR has been shocked to learn of a violent attack today at the home of our close colleague and friend, Dr. Denis Mukwege, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. We fear for the safety of Dr. Mukwege, a world-renowned obstetric surgeon who is founder and medical director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he and his staff have helped treat over 30,000 survivors of sexual violence.
After Bahraini medics and doctors assisted injured protesters during the uprising in Manama in February 2011, they were accused of inciting sectarian hatred and the overthrow of the regime, and then detained, tortured and harassed for nearly two months. The individual stories can be found on the human rights website Physicians for Human Rights.
Irish-trained surgeons Ali Alekri and Ghassan Dhaif were recently arrested in a pre-dawn raids, then violently tortured over a four-month period. International human rights organisations, including Physicians for Human Rights, have all called upon the Bahraini authorities and king to overturn the sentences and release all six medics so treated last week.
PHR has called on Bahrain to stop the targeting of doctors who saw their jail sentences upheld last week (Oct 1) by the country's highest court for their role in treating protesters during political unrest last year.
It seems hard to imagine that the situation in Bahrain, a small island country off the coast of Saudi Arabia, could be any more tense than it was when [Dan Rather was] there in late March. The Shia majority have been pushing for more rights, and the Sunni-backed rulers have been resisting with brutal efficiency.