Update: NGOs condemn Prison Sentences on Doctors in Bahrain
Last Update 6 Oct 2011
On September 29, 2011, a group of 20 Medics was sentenced in the Bahrain National Safety Court, a military court, to between five and 15 years in prison each.
During the times of unrest in Bahrain, we honored our medical oath to treat the wounded and save lives. And as a result, we are being rewarded with unjust and harsh sentences.
Thirteen Bahraini medics out of 20 received a sentence of 15 years in prison.
American Nurses Association
“The American Nurses Association (ANA) strongly condemns the Bahraini judicial system for imposing unjust prison sentences on 20 health care professionals, including nurses, who adhered to their ethical duty by treating wounded political protesters during a period of civil unrest last spring. ANA calls on the Bahrain government to reverse these court decisions, including the shameful 15-year sentence handed down to Roula Jassim Mohammed al-Saffar, a leader of the Bahrain Nursing Society.
The World Medical Association
'It is a sad day for medicine when physicians are incarcerated for treating patients. Physicians have an ethical duty to care for all patients in situations of conflict irrespective of the political circumstances. The disproportionate nature of the sentences handed down in this case after the court's seven minute hearing is a disgrace and must be overturned. Read More
The Observatory: FIDH and OMCT
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the sentences against the above-mentioned human rights defenders as it considers that they seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities and that their right to a fair trial has been disregarded. Read More
Freedom House condemns the harsh sentences for medical professionals who provided medical care, as required under the Hippocratic oath, and calls on the Bahraini government to cease its intimidation of political opponents and initiate genuine and far-reaching political reforms. Read More
British Medical Association
We have seen nothing to convince us that this is anything other than a miscarriage of justice which will have very serious repercussions for the provision of healthcare in the future. Read More
Human Rights First
“I met with many people in Bahrain who were detained, including several of the medics sentenced today. They gave consistent and credible accounts of being tortured into giving confessions,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. Read More
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights
What the Bahraini government has done on this occasion is something that has never happened in the modern history of man-kind; by targeting the health professionals using the most inhuman ways such as: arbitrary arrest, torture, extracting confessions from them while blindfolded and under torture, and bad conditions in prison. Read More
Front Line Defenders
Front Line Defenders calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately drop the sentences passed on the doctors, ensure that they are reinstated to their positions and compensated for the damage suffered during their detention and trial. Front Line Defenders also calls on those responsible for the torture of the medical personnel to be brought to justice. Read More
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
“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.” Read More
“These are simply ludicrous charges against civilian professionals who were working to save lives amid very trying circumstances,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “It appears that the real reason for targeting these health workers was the fact that they denounced the government crackdown on protesters in interviews to international media.” Read More