Urgent: deteriorating health of several on hunger strike

More detainees join Bahrain hunger strike

BCHR - 3 Sep 2011

All the detained doctors currently being held at the Dry Docks prison are on hunger strike, and many are suffering serious health deterioration. As per his wife, Dr. Ghassan Dhaif has collapsed and taken to the hospital for the second time. Other detainees have also gone on hunger strike with the doctors, and on Tuesday, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and Abduljalil AlSingace announced the beginning of their hunger strike in solidarity with the detainees in the Dry Docks prison. Alkhawaja is suffering from low sugar levels and his family are concerned for his health as he has yet to recover from the beatings and torture he was subjected to.

The hunger strike was initiated in objection to the continued detention of the doctors and other detainees at the Dry Docks prison, as well as the ill treatment and torture, not having access to legal counsel, and what they described as being ridiculous charges against them.

PHR Renews Call for Open and Fair Trials in Bahrain:

Dr. Jalal AlMousawi (Ophthalmic Consultant) has decided to start a hunger strike as well in solidarity with the detained doctors and medics. Several of the detained doctors' children have started a hunger strike in solidarity with their fathers and to demand their release. They are: Mohammed Ghassan Dhaif (14 yo), Yousif Ghassan Dhaif (10 yo), Israa Bassim Dhaif (13 yo), Mohammed Khalil (15 yo, Altublani's nephew), Fatima AlTublani, Ola Hassan AlTublani (12 years old) and Mustafa Asghar (9 yo).

Al Jazeera - 3 Sep 2011

Watch aljazeera.net video report

A rights group in Bahrain says more detainees are joining a hunger strike to protest ongoing trials from the crackdown on demonstrations for greater rights by the Gulf nation's Shia majority. A statement on Saturday by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said the strike now includes nearly 20 doctors who are jailed and face anti-state charges linked to the protests against Bahrain's ruling Sunni dynasty.

The rights group said at least two other prominent activists, Abdul Jalil al-Singace and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, have also begun hunger strikes in solidarity. The activists were sentenced to life in prison in June. Nabeel Rajab, a spokesman for the group, told Al Jazeera the detainees are insisting that a trial, if any, should take place in a civil court not a military tribunal.

The trials are scheduled to resume on Wednesday. Rajab said because little change has come into effect despite promises of reform from the government, there are now renewed protests in the prisons and in the streets.

Zainab al-Khawaja says her father, Abdulhadi, and al-Singace, opposition Haq movement member, stopped eating on Tuesday in solidarity with detainees held at Bahrain's Dry Dock prison.

She said the detainees, who were arrested as part of a March crackdown on pro-democracy protests, went on hunger strike against the government's failure to honour promises to release them.

"I am concerned about my father's health," al-Khawaja said. "He was beaten when detained and his jaw was broken.

"He has already lost too much weight in prison and yesterday he called me and said his blood sugar level has dropped," she added.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who also holds Danish citizenship, was jailed for life along with Singace and six other opposition activists in June.

Bahrain's interior ministry says 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in the month-long protests that erupted in mid-February.

Security forces backed by troops from Bahrain's Gulf neighbours crushed the protest movement.

The opposition says that scores of people were arrested, and many of them tortured. Hundreds more were dismissed from their jobs.

Four people have been sentenced to death and three to life imprisonment after being convicted of the killing of two policemen during the protests.

Nine others were jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of abducting a policeman.


Al Jazeera - 2 Sep 2011 Bahraini medical professionals, who were arrested at the start of a government crackdown on pro-democracy protests earlier this year, have gone on hunger strike, their relatives say.

They have been held in jail for almost six months, while their trial continues in a military court.

Bahraini and international human rights organisations have called the trials a farce.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Khalil Al-Mazrooq, a former chairman of the Shia bloc Al Wefaq, said: "The trial of Bahraini medics in a military tribunal is against the country’s constitution. Article 105 of the constitution says civilians should be tried in civilian courts only."

Adel Al Moawda, chairman of parliamentary foreign affairs, defence and national security in Bahrain, said the medics would receive a fair trial. aljazeera.net

The Australian - September 02, 2011 Hugh Tomlinson, Dubai From: The Times

A GROUP of Bahraini doctors on trial for alleged terrorism have begun a hunger strike in protest at their treatment, amid claims they have been tortured in custody.

The 14 men began their protest on Tuesday after being denied bail last week by a military court. Relatives say the health of several of the doctors has deteriorated rapidly and they are not receiving adequate medical treatment.

"One doctor has a cerebral aneurism, another has severe injuries from torture. Another man is suffering badly from diabetes. Now they are all on hunger strike their condition will only get worse," said a relative.

The doctors are charged with turning a hospital into a terrorist base as thousands of protesters took to the streets across the island kingdom in February, demanding democratic reforms from the ruling al-Khalifa family.

The government alleges that the men took hostages at Salmaniya hospital in the capital, Manama, hoarding guns in the building and using ambulances to run weapons to the protesters. Opponents say, however, that the authorities have been staging show trials to justify a violent crackdown.

More than 30 people have been killed since troops moved in to quash the protests in March.

With martial law in place, a military court was set up to try the detainees.

At the doctors' first hearing, in June, the most damning evidence came from confessions signed by the defendants themselves and the testimony of "confidential witnesses". The detainees have said their confessions were extracted under torture. Prisoners were beaten with sticks and hoses, deprived of sleep and forced to sign papers while blindfolded, they say.

One of the doctors described being hooded and made to stand for several hours in a cold room during repeated interrogations.

"Then they gave me some papers. I never saw them, I just signed everything they told me to. What choice did I have?" he said.

Tensions remain high across the kingdom, with protests continuing on an almost daily basis.