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For Immediate Release

Bahrain: Medics’ Confessions are Based on Torture

During sentencing on Thursday, all charges must be dropped

Cambridge, Mass. - 06/13/2012

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today called for the Bahraini court to expunge all politically motivated charges against 20 Bahraini medical professionals convicted of occupying a hospital and overthrowing the regime. On Thursday, the medics will be sentenced in the High Court of Appeals.  

Eighteen of the accused medical professionals have alleged that Bahraini security forces tortured them while in detention. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) uncovered systematic torture, excessive use of force, and many of the other serious human rights violations that PHR reported earlier in the year.

“The Government of Bahrain cannot claim to care about human rights while it upholds convictions based on torture,” said Donna McKay, Executive Director of PHR. “Given that the BICI report found evidence of torture and the prosecutor openly acknowledged the allegations of torture, all convictions must be thrown out. If the Government of Bahrain wants to show its citizens and the international community that it is genuinely committed to reform, the trial of the medics must reflect that commitment,” said McKay.

“To date, there hasn’t been a genuine effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for torture and other crimes. Justice will not be served until all guilty parties are held accountable,” said McKay.

PHR has continually called for the charges against all medical professionals to be dismissed and the torture of medics documented by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to be thoroughly investigated.

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.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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