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For Immediate Release

PHR is Encouraged by Bahrain Court’s Decision to Hold New Trial for Medics

Continues calls for investigation of torture allegations and fair and open civilian trials for all

Cambridge, Mass. - 10/23/2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is encouraged by the decision by the Bahrain Court of Appeals to hold new trials for the 20 doctors who were recently sentenced as alleged backers of pro-democracy protests. PHR continues to call for the Kingdom of Bahrain to drop all politically motivated charges against the medics and all others charged in connection with the protests.

“This decision is a small victory for the medics and their families who have been fighting long and hard against these charges,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director at PHR. “We continue to be troubled by the allegations that the medics were tortured while in detention, and until their treatment is investigated and any forced confessions that might have resulted from the torture are thrown out, justice cannot be served.”

PHR also calls on the Kingdom of Bahrain to allow all medics to resume their jobs and allow all medics and their defense team access to the medical examination reports from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’s examination of the detained doctors. PHR has continually condemned the human rights violations of all civilians during Bahrain’s popular uprising earlier this year, and has called for all trials to be fair. 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.

Earlier this week, PHR applauded the decision by the U.S. Government to delay the sale of 53 million dollars of arms to Bahrain. However, before the U.S. resumes the sale, Bahrain must engage in significant and measurable changes, including ensuring that any trial upholds international standards of fairness, to prove that it is truly committed to protecting the human rights of all its citizens.

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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