Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

PHR Condemns Bahraini Authorities’ Denial of Entry to PHR Deputy Director on Eve of Doctors’ Trial

Calls for Complete Openness to Independent Human Rights Monitoring and further Delay in Arms Deal

Cambridge, Mass. - 01/08/2012

PHR today strongly condemned the actions taken by Bahraini border authorities who refused PHR’s Deputy Director Richard Sollom entrance into Bahrain. Sollom holds a valid visa and has received frequent invitations by senior Bahraini cabinet members to visit the country.

Sollom was traveling to Bahrain to monitor the appellate court trial of the 20 Bahraini medics with felony charges who provided care for protestors during popular uprisings last year. Thirteen of the medics, who include highly skilled specialists, have been sentenced by the National Safety Court (a hybrid military-civilian court) to 15 years in prison and the rest have been sentenced to 5 or 10 years in prison.

“In light of the international outcry triggered by the brutal crackdown in Bahrain against protestors earlier last year, the severity of human rights violations chronicled in the Bassiouni Report, and the continued violent attacks on demonstrators including the excessive and inappropriate use of tear gas, PHR was surprised by the obvious reluctance of the Bahraini government to allow an independent human rights investigator into the country,” said Hans Hogrefe, Chief Policy Officer at Physicians for Human Rights.

“Blocking independent human rights observers from the trials of medical professionals casts greater doubt on the fairness of these proceedings,” said Sollom. “Bahraini officials continue to say that they are willing to introduce human rights reforms, however, these recent events severely undermine those claims and overshadow their commitment to ensuring that the medics’ trial is fair and open.”

PHR calls on the US government to further delay the pending military arms sale to Bahrain until the government of Bahrain makes measurable and irreversible progress on human rights, establishes accountability for past human rights violations, and guarantees full access to independent human rights observers.

PHR has continually condemned the government of Bahrain’s human rights violations against civilians during Bahrain’s popular uprising last year and has called for fair trials for all in civilian courts. An estimated 350 protestors remain in detention and thousands have been unfairly convicted, abused, or fired from their jobs. In April, PHR released the report Do No Harm, which detailed Bahrain’s systematic attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients.

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

PHR News