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For Immediate Release

PHR Calls on Bahrain Appeals Court to Free Hospital Worker

Cambridge, Mass. - 08/03/2012

An appeals court in Bahrain could decide on Monday whether to release a hospital worker sentenced to three years in prison for delivering an oxygen cylinder and other medical supplies to treat protesters.

A military court sentenced Younis Ashoori in June 2011 following his arrest in March; he has allegedly been tortured while in custody. He is in his 60s and has serious medical conditions that put his life in danger without appropriate medical care.

“Imprisoning this health professional for the ‘crime’ of helping wounded protesters is yet another example of the government’s empty promise to implement human rights reform,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR. “Mr. Ashoori must be released at once—along with all other medical professionals who have been similarly arrested simply for performing their ethical duty to treat the injured.”

Younis is one of several medics tried individually. Ahmed Almushatat was sentenced to two years for providing medications to injured protesters, and Hassan Matooq was sentenced to three years for participating in a public gathering. PHR has been unable to visit these men in prison, despite repeated requests, and has lobbied strenuously for their release.

PHR has also called on courts in Bahrain to drop all charges against other medical professionals convicted in connection with their efforts to treat protesters wounded in demonstrations against the Bahraini regime sparked by the Arab Spring movement.

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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