For Immediate Release
Bahrain Attorney General’s Decision to Hold New Civilian Trials for Doctors Welcomed
PHR calls for investigation of allegations of torture in detention
Cambridge, Mass - 10/05/2011
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed the decision by Bahrain’s Attorney General to hold civilian trials for 20 doctors who were sentenced last week as alleged backers of anti-government protests. While an important step towards achieving justice for the doctors, PHR is still troubled by allegations the medics were tortured while they were in detention.
“We are encouraged to hear that the Government of Bahrain is listening to the calls of the international community, Bahraini doctors and human rights activists and has ordered a retrial for the doctors in a civilian court,” said Richard Sollom, PHR’s Deputy Director and lead investigator in Bahrain. “However, any trial must include independent forensic evaluations of the medics to establish if torture or inhumane treatment occurred. Any forced confessions that may have resulted from these acts must also be discarded.”
Additionally, PHR calls for all protestors to be tried before a civilian court. An estimated 350 protestors remain in detention and thousands have been unfairly convicted, abused or fired from their jobs. All trials should adhere to internationally recognized standards of fairness that protect the rights of the accused.
Last week, PHR denounced the guilty verdicts and harsh sentences issued in Bahrain against 20 medical professionals and two protestors.
In April, PHR released the report Do No Harm, which detailed Bahrain’s systematic attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients. PHR has continually condemned the human rights violations of all civilians during the popular uprising, and has called for all to receive fair trials.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.
Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.