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For Immediate Release

PHR Denounces Sentencing of Bahraini Medics

Cambridge, Mass. - 06/14/2012

PHR denounces the guilty verdicts and sentences issued in a Bahraini court today against 11 medical professionals. PHR calls on the government of Bahrain to set aside the verdicts and not carry out the sentences.

Eighteen of the accused medical professionals have alleged that Bahraini security forces tortured them while in detention. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) revealed systematic torture, excessive use of force, and many of the other serious human rights violations that PHR reported earlier in the year.

“Given that the BICI report found evidence of torture and the prosecutor openly acknowledged the allegations of torture, it is a travesty of justice that the trials continued and that the medics are now sentenced to jail time,” said Executive Director, Donna McKay.

“The US Administration should take a strong and unwavering stance against the Government of Bahrain’s use of force against civilians and its attack on medical professionals. The developments in today’s trial merely add to the growing list of human rights concerns in Bahrain,” said McKay. “The US administration should demand from its ally measurable improvements in the human rights situation, including holding anyone who engaged in any acts of torture or ill treatment accountable.”

PHR officially requested visas from the Government of Bahrain on May 25, 2012 to attend the hearing, however was not granted permission.

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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