Bahrain: Medical professionals arrested and imprisoned

Posted on | oktober 5, 2012 | No Comments

H.E. Mrs. Alice Thomas Samaan, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, United Kingdom

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for

I came to know about the situation from Front Line Defenders.

I am writing to express my concern and request your intervention in the following case.

On 2 October 2012, six medical professionals and human rights defenders were arrested after their homes were subjected to early morning raids in Bahrain. This followed the decision on 1 October 2012 of the Bahrain Court of Cassation in Manama to uphold the sentences imposed upon nine medical professionals in spite of unfair trials and the use of torture.

The six arrested are Dr. Ali Al Ekri (sentenced to five years); Mr. Ibrahim Al Demistani (three years); Dr. Ghassan Dhaif (one year); Dr. Saeed Al Samahiji (one year); Dr. Mahmoud Asghar (six months); and Ms. Dheya Ibrahim Abu Idris (two months). They were convicted on unsubstantiated charges including promoting the change of the political regime by force, instigating sectarian hatred and illegal detention of persons.

The doctors were detained, tortured and prosecuted together with a group of over 40 medics in 2011 because they provided emergency medical attention to injured demonstrators and because they spoke out about the injuries they had seen. The torture of the doctors and the unfair trials they faced before military courts was documented in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). Following domestic and international protests they were released pending an appeal before civil courts. The appeal process again failed to meet international fair trial standards but did lead to reduced sentences and some acquittals. It is the revised sentences against nine of the medics which were upheld by the Court of Cassation on 1 October.

I strongly condemn the decision to uphold and implement these sentences and express concern at the ongoing harassment of medical professionals in Bahrain. I believe that they have been sentenced and imprisoned solely as a result of their legitimate and peaceful medical and human rights work.

I urge the authorities in Bahrain to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release all the medical professionals and overturn all their convictions, as it is believed that their sentencing and imprisonment are solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate medical and human rights work;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of all the medical professionals and their families;

3. Cease targeting all medical professionals and human rights defenders in Bahrain and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

AUTHOR: William Nicholas Gomes
E-MAIL: [at]


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