Last week eight Bahraini medics received notification that they had been dismissed from working under the Ministry of Health, in the latest attack against the medical profession in Bahrain.
Three of the eight are currently serving prison sentences, relating to treating injured protesters during February and March 2011, whilst the other five spent time in prison during 2011. They are:
- Dr. Ali Alekry (in jail for 5 years) - Orthopedic Surgeon
- Dr. Ghassan Dhaif (in jail for 1 year) – Maxillofacial surgeon
- Dr. Saeed Samahiji (in jail for 1 year) – Ophthalmologist specialist
- Dr. Nader Dewani – Consultant neonatologist
- Dr. Mahmood Asghar – Consultant pediatric surgeon
- Dr. Bassim Dhaif – Consultant orthopedic Surgeon
- Dr. Abdul Khaliq Aloraibi – Rheumatologist specialist
- Dheya Abudrees – Staff nurse
The move prevents them from practicing under the Ministry of Health, denying their right to work and indeed their patients from the right to treatment. The decision was made with the collusion of both the Ministry of Health and the Civil Service Bureau and relates to the charges against the medics that began with their detention in May 2011. 43 medics were detained in total with many being tortured into giving false confessions, the justifications from the authorities ranged from stealing blood from hospitals to exaggerate protesters injuries, to participating in illegal gatherings.
The medics denied all charges, once released from prison, claiming that they were being targeted for treating injured protesters and being eyewitnesses to the regimes brutality. 20 of the 43 faced prison terms ranging from 3-15 years, although many were dropped after huge international pressure and outcry.
However, 9 had their charges upheld with reduced sentences and 5 were arrested immediately to serve jail terms. It was believed that this would mark the end of the attacks on medical workers in Bahrain, but this spate of dismissals is another move designed to punish them for their care of protesters.
One of the original 20 who faced prison is Dr. Nada Dhaif, Chairwoman of the Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organisation. She said, “The Bahraini regime defined the word revenge uniquely. For witnessing the crimes of the regime, Doctors deserved all types of revenge last but not least ending their career. What’s next? Killing them?!”
And Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights, Richard Sollom, also condemned the move saying, “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.”