PHR Condemns Decision to Pile Further Penalties on Physicians and Nurse

Cambridge, MA - 01/31/2013

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemns today’s decision by Bahrain’s Ministry of Health to dismiss from their ministry jobs eight medical professionals convicted in connection with providing medical care to protesters during the Arab Spring of 2011.

Of the eight people dismissed—seven physicians and one nurse—four are also serving prison sentences ranging from one to five years. “These medical professionals were arrested simply for carrying out their ethical duty to treat injured people,” said Richard Sollom, deputy director of PHR. “They were then tortured, forced to confess to crimes they did not commit, convicted on trumped-up charges, and imprisoned unjustly. For them now to be forced out of their government jobs merely continues a long chain of baseless abuse by the regime.”

Sollom added: “These medical professionals should be treating patients, not languishing in jail or forced to seek alternate employment. They have lost not just their freedom but their jobs, their income, and their standing in the medical community. These additional penalties may be intended as an additional warning to physicians that treating protesters might jeopardize their careers.”

PHR calls on the health ministry to reinstate the doctors and nurse in their jobs immediately with compensation for lost wages, and also to compensate those who were tortured while in custody.

physiciansforhumanrights.org