BJDM Statement – Barbaric Sentences Given to Medics

The shocking sentences given to 20 Bahraini medical staff are an atrocious violation of human rights.

13 of the 20 were given 15 years in prison, whilst the other 7 will remain behind bars for between 5 and 10 years.

All 20 worked at Salmaniya Medical Complex and treated injured protestors during the pro-democracy demonstrations in February and March.

We believe that their sentences are a clear case of political persecution.

The Bahraini State has accused the medics of a number of ‘crimes’ from “inciting hatred to the regime” to “possessing weapons”.

In reality they are being targeted for helping protestors who had sustained injuries from a brutal crackdown on behalf of The Government.

Instead of receiving jail sentences, the medical workers should be rewarded for their incredible life-saving work in very difficult and stressful circumstances.

In April the Deputy Director of rights group Physicians for Human Rights described the treatment of Salmaniya staff as ‘the worst violation of medical neutrality he’s seen in 20 years’.

47 medical workers were arrested in total but they were released on bail at the beginning of September, after going on hunger strike. At the time it wasn’t clear that for many it would a final couple of weeks to say goodbye to their families.

Many claim they were tortured during their detention, a sadly frequent charge against prison authorities.

Also today, Ali Yusof Al-Taweel was sentenced to death having been accused of killing a police officer, whilst Ali Mahdi has received life in prison for the same crime.

We call on human rights groups and concerned citizens to immediately take up this case and petition the Bahraini Government to reverse this inhumane decision and stop all political persecutions.

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