UPDATE: Urgent Appeal - Detained Nurse Haleema Al-Sabagh Deprived Medical Attention
18th March 2013
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) is gravely concerned about the continuation of denying access to medical treatment for prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.
According to the family of the nurse Haleema Al-Sabagh, the prison authorities have denied her access to proper medical care and medicine for 2 months. She suffers from severe back pain and as stated by the family, an ambulance was brought to her, but prison authorities refused to release her to the hospital reportedly saying that the ambulance can only take her when she is unconscious. When she is taken to the prison clinic she is only given pain killers. At one point, AlSabagh was taken for a single physical therapy session and an x-ray was scheduled for her, but her family were surprised to find out that the x-ray appointment is scheduled in July 2013.
Nurse Haleema Abdulaziz Al-Sabagh was arrested for the first time from her workplace in Salmaniya hospital on January 26, 2012. She was charged with taking first-aid medicine for the treatment of injured protesters, who suffered injuries as a result of the use of excessive force by the authorities, she was later sentenced to 1 year in prison.
The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union and all close allies and international institutions to put pressure on Bahraini authorities to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Haleema Al-Sabagh along with all other political prisoners. 2. Provide Haleema Al-Sabagh and all other prisoners with medical treatment and hospital visits. 3- Immediately release all medical personnel who were detained because of their humanitarian duties in the treatment of wounded protesters. 4- Immediately stop targeting the medics in Bahrain, stop the unfair trials, drop all charges and sentences passed against them, and compensate them and their families for all damages incurred.
16 Oct 2012
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights express concern regarding the arrest of yet another medical staff, Dental Assistant Halima Abdulaziz Al-Sabag on 15 Oct 2012, after attending her trial of appeal against 1 year imprisonment sentence which she received earlier, an action that affirm continuation of targeting of medical staff by the Bahraini authorities.
Dental Assistant Halima Abdulaziz Al-Sabag was arrested for the first time from her workplace in Salmaniya hospital on January 26, 2012. Allegedly she took first-aid medicines for the treatment of injured protesters, who suffered injuries as a result of the suppression of the authorities. She was detained for approximately 3 weeks pending investigation on an alleged charge of exploitation of her job to seize the money of the state, a charge denied by Al-Sabag. (see previous appeal here: bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/5006 ). She was put on trial along with the head nurse and sentenced on 18 Sep 2012 to 1-year imprisonment and a fine of 100 Bahraini dinars whilst the other nurse was acquitted. She was then arrested again while attending her trial of appeal on 15 Oct 2012, to execute the sentence. The trial of appeal was postponed until 18 Nov 2012.
The hospitals in Bahrain have been under military control for over 18 months now, protesters are unable to receive proper treatment in the hospitals as they fear arrest if they seek hospital care for their injuries, as hospitals have been ordered to report any injury related to protest to the police. Instead, they are forced to receive inferior treatment at home, or remain untreated. In May there were documented cases of protesters being interrogated and arrested after arriving to hospitals, and before the completion of their medical treatment.
The criminal courts in Bahrain are still considering the cases of 28 health professionals because of their involvement in the treatment of wounded demonstrators. Verdicts are expected to be passed on them on January 2013 .  On the 14th of June 2012, an appeals court upheld the convictions of nine doctors, who were sentenced to between one month to five years in prison for their involvement in the treatment of injured protesters during the Feb 2011 uprising, and subsequently 6 of them were arrested . At the same time, some other members of the medical staff are still in prison, including Nurse Hassan Maatoq, sentenced by a military court to three years in prison  . All this is happening, although reports by international human rights organizations and Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), confirmed the exposure of medics to mistreatment and torture in order to extract confessions that have been later used in cases against them.
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights call on the governments of US, UK and EU to apply pressure on Bahrain to:
- Immediately release of all medical personnel who were detained because of their humanitarian duties in the treatment of wounded demonstrators. - Immediately stop targeting the medics in Bahrain, stop the unfair trials, drop all charges and sentences passed against them, and compensate them and their families for all damages incurred. - End the security control of the Salmaniya medical hospital and ensure the right of individuals to receive treatment without the risk of detention or torture.