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Bahrain Jails Medics for Treating Injured Protestors

BBC Arabic reported that a Bahraini military court sentenced one protestor to death for killing a policeman during an anti-regime protest in March. The court also issued harsh prison sentences to 20 medical professionals working at al-Salmaniya Hospital in Manama during the protest movement. Thirteen medics were sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the Bahrain News Agency, the medics are being charged with "forcefully occupying Salmaniya Medical Centre…possessing unlicensed arms and knives, incitement to overthrow the regime, seizing medical equipment, detaining policemen, and spreading false news." Several written testimonies of the sentenced doctors indicate that they were physically and psychologically abused, tortured, beaten, sexually harassed, and humiliated while in custody.  

Doctors form a human chain at Salmaniya Hospital fearing an attack by riot police in Manama

 

On June 14, after Bahrain started the trial of 48 medics, journalist Robert Fisk dispatched an eyewitness account from the hospital to The Independent. He wrote that he saw doctors desperately trying to save the lives of injured protestors shot by Bahraini forces, describing the charges as "a pack of lies."

 

One of the sentenced doctors, Dr. Fatma Haji, told the BBC that the medics' only crime "was that we helped innocent, helpless people who were just protesting and got injured." In a video to her three-year-old son, she maintained her innocence and expressed hope that when he is old enough to understand, he will be proud of her.

 

Amnesty International condemned the Bahraini regime for its harsh sentences against the health practitioners. Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme described the charges against the medics as "ludicrous." The Dublin-based human rights organization Front Line also condemned the sentencing after a "deeply flawed and unfair trial." It declared that medical care has been "criminalized" in Bahrain.

 

In July, Human Rights Watch issued a 54-page report documenting the government's abuses against citizens since February, and called on the Bahraini regime to immediately end its systematic policy of arresting and abusing medical personnel and patients.

 

(Photo: Doctors form a human chain at Salmaniya Hospital fearing an attack by riot police in Manama, on March 15/ Reuters)

 
 

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BahrainSaudi-backed Bahraini troops attacked anti-government protestors in the island city of Sitra, killing a 14-year-old boy. Witnesses say the victim was hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired from close range. Reports say the city's hospital refused to admit the critically injured teenager and that he died shortly afterwards. It is believed that hospital authorities refused to treat the wounded teenager for fear of being arrested by security forces.

 

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Tonight on Mosaic: Tonight on Mosaic: Islamists deny alliance with Gaddafi

Bahrain: Amnesty International said two Bahraini women activists who have been imprisoned and allegedly tortured for their involvement in protests began a hunger strike to demand their release. Roula al-Saffar, head of the Bahrain Nursing Society, and Jalila al-Salman, vice president of the Bahrain Teachers' Association, have been held for several months, according to the rights group.

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Syria: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe described the decree issued by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad authorizing political parties in Syria as an act of "provocation" that only comes amid the violence against civilians. In Hama, all water, electricity, and communication services have been cut off as what is being referred to as a massacre continues in the city. Residents say that yesterday, over 40 people were killed or wounded yesterday.

 
 

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Libya: Libyan revolutionaries have launched an assault on a key gateway to the capital Tripoli as fighting intensifies between the opposition and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. In their slow approach toward the capital, the revolutionaries attacked the regime’s positions in the Gualish area, 50 kilometers from Tripoli. Last week the opposition also took over a large ammunition depot belonging Gaddafi’s forces in western Libya.


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Bahrain:
Human Rights Watch has accused the Bahraini government of carrying out a punitive and vindictive campaign of violent repression against its own citizens since March. The organization says that the campaign targets Shiites who account for 80% of the population, and that dozens of protestors have been killed and tortured. The organization demanded that the Bahraini government end the abuses.

 
 

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