Bahraini Doctors Tortured Into Making False Confessions (VIDEO)

23 doctors and 24 nurses who treated pro-democracy protesters earlier this year in Bahrain have been charged with “attempting to topple the king’s monarchy”; with, in effect, treason. The BBC reports that, according to their families, they were tortured into making false confessions.

BBC correspondent Rupert Wingfield Hayes was present in the military courtroom in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, at which the prosecution made its case against the doctors earlier in June. Some of the doctors, he says, were young, some old; their heads were shaven and their clothing rumpled. Here is what Hayes says is, indeed, the “strange collection of charges” against them:

The doctors were, it alleged, part of a militant Shia clique that had taken control of Manama’s biggest hospital and used it as a base to try to overthrow the royal government.

They had spread false rumours, used ambulances to ferry weapons, including machine guns, to the street protesters.

They had refused to treat patients from Bahrain’s minority Sunni elite and they had stolen blood from the blood bank.

As Hayes says, the evidence against the doctors is “murky,” with a government official, the prosecution’s first witness, “referring to confidential sources and to confessions made by the defendants” — confessions that were apparently made under torture, ” a very suspect form of evidence.”

Doctors in Ireland, where some of the Bahraini doctors received their medical training, have written an open letter to King Hamad of Bahrain, to release the medical professionals and human rights defenders currently imprisoned; to drop all charges against 47 doctors, nurses and technicians; to overturn the convictions of human rights activists Ali Abdulemam and Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who was beaten so severely that he needed a four-hour operation in a military hospital and has now been sentenced to life in prison; to put an end to unfair trials and bring those responsible for torture to justice. The letter contains chilling accounts of the inhumane treatment the doctors and nurses have been subjected to:

Dr Ali Al Ekri, an Orthopaedic surgeon at Salmaniya Hospital in Manama, was arrested on 17 March 2011. He was taken from the operating theatre, handcuffed, and held in incommunicado detention. Along with the others he was seen in detention, held crouching in a small space, blindfolded and handcuffed.

On March 19th Dr Basim Daif and his brother Dr Ghassan Daif were arrested. When they were taken into custody, their homes were ransacked and their valuables and important documents were taken.

Mrs Rula Al Saffar, Head of Bahrain Nursing Society, was arrested on April 4th. A cancer survivor herself, she became a board member of the Bahrain Cancer Society and remains in detention.

An Irish doctor, Dr.Damian McCormack, speaks out about his Bahraini colleagues in the video below.

The BBC‘s Hayes found footage of Dr. Al Ekri, referred to as the “main ringleader of the doctors’ conspiracy” by the prosector, speaking months ago to the BBC and Al-Jazeera about the wounded protesters being brought into his hospital:

One of the doctors, a softly spoken man called Ali Al Akri [i.e., Ali Al Ekri], struggled to hold back tears as he pleaded with the government to stop the killing, to stop shooting the protesters

… He did not look like a ringleader to me. Passionate, angry, distraught, yes. The leader of an anti-government coup? No.

His real crime was to have spoken out to us, the foreign media. To have told the outside world what was going on inside his hospital. Of the effects of buckshot and tear gas. To show X-rays of high-velocity bullets embedded in protesters’ bodies..

This Al Jazeera video from February show doctors, nurses and medical personnel treating the wounded. Thevideo is all the more chilling to watch knowing that some of those shown have been imprisoned for the above “strange charges.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-5Ecwo3tgk

As the New York Times reports, ”reconciliation talks” between the King and opposition groups on Saturday. They were “mostly ceremonial, with a reading from the Koran, a speech and presentations.” In view of what seem to be trumped-up charges brought against the doctors, it seems hardly surprising that the opposition (which has 35 of the 300 seats at the bargaining table) has “expressed skepticism” that the talks can “accomplish anything.”

 

Take Action: Sign the petition to call for the release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and other peaceful protestors!

Take Action: Sign the petition to release Bahraini doctors and nurses.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

8 Bahraini Activists Sentenced to Life in Prison

Police Let Bahraini Hunger Striker See Husband For 6 Minutes

Bahraini Doctors & Nurses Charged with Trying to “Topple the King’s Monarchy”


Photo of employees at Salmaniya Hospital awaiting patients injured in the February protests in Manama by Al Jazeera English

13 comments

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Tragic and shameful! Both petitions already signed.

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surjit k.
surjit k6 years ago

Carol K. " Those are the worst atrocities I have heard of since WW 2 " Looks like you don't know much about others atrocities . see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hama_massacre ,worst things have happened since WW2. Have you never heard of Darfue in Southern Sudan? Where over one million Black African were slaughtered by Sudanese Arabs. Go to YouTube and type in " islam racism : genocide in dafur " and see it. Then tens and thousands killed in Congo ,Tutsi V Hutus.

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Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago

thanks

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Bernadette P.
Berny p6 years ago

Very sad hope he will get the moral confort from all of his people.

This governement is not human...they are bullies who will do anything to stay in power...Evil with a big E!

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Rosie Lopez
Rosie L6 years ago

tragic ty

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Robert Tedders
Robert T6 years ago

Abbe A.: AGREED!! *ANGRY*

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myra d.
myra d6 years ago

Boggles the mind.

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Abbe A.
Azaima A6 years ago

absolute power corrupts absolutely

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Pim K.
Pim K6 years ago

How sick can the king and president be - must be off their trolly!! Off to sign petition.

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Carol Kemp
Carol K6 years ago

These are the worst attrocities I have heard of since WW11! . The king and priminister should be thrown into jail and forgotten!! Praying the world lets it be known this will not be tollerated, the king and priminister will not be welcome in any country through out the world, let us all stand firm against Bahrains serious human rights issues.

Thank you Damien, you are a diamond, a great contribution and start to a much needed compaign! Thoughts and prayers for doctors and nurses Bahrain.

Please folks lets get to it - pettition, strong words, let them know how the world feels! Sure you will all give it yout best , thank you!! :0)) Have a good day! C.

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