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For Immediate Release

PHR Reports Disappearances of at Least Two Bahraini Doctors in Past 24 Hours

Cambridge, Mass - 04/05/2011

Cambridge, Mass. – April 5, 2011 – According to Physicians for Human Rights’ investigators in Bahrain, doctors are disappearing as part of a systematic attack on medical staff. Today PHR investigators learned that two physicians are missing following interrogations by unknown security forces at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Manama.

“We know of at least two doctors who have disappeared in the last 24 hours,” said Richard Sollom, PHR’s lead investigator. 

Although families have tried to contact the administration officials with whom the doctors were last seen, the administration denies any knowledge of their whereabouts. According to family members, the physicians are being held incommunicado in unknown locations.

“Unfortunately, these incidents aren’t isolated,” said Sollom. “They seem to be part of a systematic attack on doctors in Bahrain. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have an ethical duty to prevent and limit suffering of patients in their care, and a duty to practice medicine in a neutral way without fear or favor. PHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to release these medical professionals unharmed in the absence of legitimate charges, or to formally charge them and assure them a fair and impartial trial.”

PHR has a long history of investigating attacks against medical personnel. The human rights law, international humanitarian law, and medical ethics that define “medical neutrality” dictate noninterference with medical services in times of civil unrest.

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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