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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:

  1. Dr. Ali Al-Ekri ( 15 Years )
  2. Dr. Nader Diwani ( 15 Years )
  3. Dr. Ahmed Abdul Aziz Omran ( 15 Years )
  4. Dr. Mahmoud Asghar ( 15 Years )
  5. Rola Al Saffar ( 15 Years )
  6. Dr. Abdulkhaleq Al-Oraibi ( 15 Years )
  7. Dr. Ghassan Dhaif ( 15 Years )
  8. Dr. Bassim Dhaif ( 15 Years )
  9. Sayed Marhoon Al-Wedaie ( 15 Years )
  10. Dr. Nada Dhaif ( 15 Years )
  11. Dr. Fatima Haji ( 5 Years )
  12. Dheya Ibrahim AbuIdris ( 5 Years )
  13. Dr. Najah Khalil Al-Haddad ( 5 Years )
  14. Dr. Saeed Al-Samahiji ( 10 Years )
  15. Dr. Zahra Al-Sammak ( 5 Years )
  16. Ali Hassan Alsddi ( 15 Years )
  17. Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahimn ( 15 Years )
  18. Hassan Mohammed Said ( 10 Years )
  19. Mohammed Faiq Ali ( 5 Years )
  20. Qassim Mohammed Omran ( 15 Years )

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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