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For Immediate Release

Eight Medical Professionals Dismissed from Bahrain Ministry of Health

PHR Condemns Decision to Pile Further Penalties on Physicians and Nurse

Cambridge, MA - 01/31/2013

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemns today’s decision by Bahrain’s Ministry of Health to dismiss from their ministry jobs eight medical professionals convicted in connection with providing medical care to protesters during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Of the eight people dismissed—seven physicians and one nurse—four are also serving prison sentences ranging from one to five years.

“These medical professionals were arrested simply for carrying out their ethical duty to treat injured people,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR. “They were then tortured, forced to confess to crimes they did not commit, convicted on trumped-up charges, and imprisoned unjustly. For them now to be forced out of their government jobs merely continues a long chain of baseless abuse by the regime.”

Sollom added: “These medical professionals should be treating patients, not languishing in jail or forced to seek alternate employment. They have lost not just their freedom but their jobs, their income, and their standing in the medical community. These additional penalties may be intended as an additional warning to physicians that treating protesters might jeopardize their careers.”

PHR calls on the health ministry to reinstate the doctors and nurse in their jobs immediately with compensation for lost wages, and also to compensate those who were tortured while in custody.

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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