For Immediate Release
PHR Denounces Sentences Passed on Bahraini Medics and Protestors
Calls for persecution of health providers to cease
Cambridge, Mass - 09/29/2011
PHR denounces the guilty verdicts and harsh sentences issued in Bahrain against 20 medical professionals and two protestors on September 29. The medics were convicted for providing care to protestors during the country’s popular uprising earlier this year. PHR calls on the government of Bahrain to set aside the verdicts and not carry out the sentences.
“These are medical professionals who were treating patients during a period of civil unrest, as their ethical duty requires them to do. To imprison them as part of a political struggle is unconscionable,” said PHR’s Chief Policy Officer, Hans Hogrefe.
PHR has continually challenged the legitimacy of the charges against the medics. The medical professionals being charged are civilians who have been arrested and interrogated by military prosecutors, and then tried by a hybrid military court. This does not meet with the minimum standard of a fair trial. These convictions demonstrate a clear disregard for human rights on the part of the Bahraini authorities and are in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was ratified by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In April, PHR released the report Do No Harm, which detailed Bahrain’s systematic attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients. PHR has continually condemned the human rights violations of all civilians during the popular uprising, and has called for all to receive fair trials.
PHR has also received reports of torture of the detainees and a significant decline in the detainees’ health while in detention.
“We are gravely concerned that Bahraini judges have not given these torture allegations sufficient consideration in their final verdict and that any confessions may well have been forced and are therefore invalid,” said Deputy Director Richard Sollom, who authored PHR’s April report.
“We believe the Kingdom of Bahrain still has time to act before the doctors are arrested and taken to prison,” said Hogrefe. “In the past, leading medical organizations have called for the release of the doctors. Today we call on the voices of medical professionals worldwide to urge the government of Bahrain to set aside the verdicts and not carry out the sentences.”
PHR has been told by sources inside Bahrain that the following sentences have been passed on 20 medical professionals:
- Dr. Ali Al-Ekri ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Nader Diwani ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Ahmed Abdul Aziz Omran ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Mahmoud Asghar ( 15 Years )
- Rola Al Saffar ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Abdulkhaleq Al-Oraibi ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Ghassan Dhaif ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Bassim Dhaif ( 15 Years )
- Sayed Marhoon Al-Wedaie ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Nada Dhaif ( 15 Years )
- Dr. Fatima Haji ( 5 Years )
- Dheya Ibrahim AbuIdris ( 5 Years )
- Dr. Najah Khalil Al-Haddad ( 5 Years )
- Dr. Saeed Al-Samahiji ( 10 Years )
- Dr. Zahra Al-Sammak ( 5 Years )
- Ali Hassan Alsddi ( 15 Years )
- Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahimn ( 15 Years )
- Hassan Mohammed Said ( 10 Years )
- Mohammed Faiq Ali ( 5 Years )
- Qassim Mohammed Omran ( 15 Years )
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.