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Dublin: Front Line Defenders expresses its dismay as sentences upheld against doctors and health professionals in Bahrain
Eleven medical professionals accused of aiding Bahrain’s anti-government uprising were today sentenced to prison terms ranging from one month to 15 years, including Dr Ali Al Ekri a former student of the Royal Colleage of Surgeons in Dublin
Nine had sentences ranging from 1 month to 5 years upheld, while two doctors who had fled the country had their sentences of 15 years upheld. Dr Ali Al Ekri who was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment studied in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. Nine others were freed.
“Front Line Defenders believes that all the medics should be immediately and unconditionally released and all convictions should be overturned. In addition they should be reinstated in their jobs”, said Front Line Defenders Executive Director Mary Lawlor in Dublin today.
The doctrors were arrested because they provided emergecy medical attention to injured demonstrators during the security clampdown and becasue they spoke out about the injuries they had seen and which were in their view a result of excessive use of live amunition.
“Front Line Defenders is further concerned that no independent investigation into the doctors' serious and credible allegations of torture has been carried out and no officer responsible for their torture has been brought to justice.” added Ms Lawlor.
In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) revealed systematic torture, excessive use of force and many other serious human rights violations.
Front Line Defenders is also concerned for the safety and security of those human rights defenders who continue to speak out in Bahrain especially those who took part in the recent United Nations Periodic Review Process in Geneva and who were as a result targeted in the official media and smeared as traitors. Meanwhile the trial of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, former Protection Coordinator with Front Line Defenders and his 13 codefendants continues with the Government showing no sign of being willing to make any concessions to its critics.
It is also important to note that there has been no official investigation into the role of high level officials in the Government of Bahrain who played a significant role is promoting false allegations against the medics who inter allia were accused of occupying the Salamaniya Hospital and possession of weapons.
As of today the sentences previously given to the medics have changed to the
1. *Ali Al-Ekri: *15 years has changed to 5 years imprisonment
2. *Ghassan Dhaif: *1 year imprisonment
3. *Mahmoud Asghar: *6 month imprisonment
4. *Bassem Dhaif: *1 month imprisonment
5. *Ebrahim Al-Demistani: *3 years imprisonment
6. *Nader Diwani: *1 month imprisonment
7. *Abdulkhaliq Al-Oraibi: *1 month imprisonment
8. *Dhiaa Abuidrees: *2 month imprisonment
9. *Saeed Al-Samahiji: *1 year imprisonment
The following were found innocent:
1. Zahraa Al-Sammak
2. Hassan Al-Tublani
3. Fatima Haji
4. Nada Dhaif
5. Ahmed Omran
6. Rola Al-Saffar
7. Najah Khalil
8. Mohammed Al-Shehab
9. Sayed Marhoon ENDS
In November 2011, Front Line Defenders went to Bahrain and met with a number of these medical professionals. Video interviews are online and available for the following:
For further information please contact
Jim Loughran, Head of Communications, Front Line Defenders
Tel +353 1 212 37 50 – or MOBILE +353 (0)87 9377586