Bahrain Court Hands Down Harsh Sentences to Doctors and Protesters
The agency reported that eight people it identified as doctors who worked at a central hospital in the capital,
The sentences were the latest sign that the country’s Sunni monarchy would continue to deal severely with those involved in widespread protests this year, mostly held by members of its repressed Shiite majority. Much of that effort has been focused on the doctors and nurses who treated demonstrators.
At the height of the protests, security forces commandeered the Salmaniya hospital and arrested dozens of doctors and nurses. Rights activists have since accused the government of having made systematic efforts to deny medical services to wounded protesters. The international relief organization Doctors Without Borders stopped working in Bahrain last month after its offices were raided.
Reacting to the verdicts and punishments announced Thursday, Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group in Cambridge, Mass., called on the government of Bahrain to set them aside. “These are medical professionals who were treating patients during a period of civil unrest, as their ethical duty requires them to do,” the group’s chief policy officer, Hans Hogrefe, said in a statement on the group’s Web site. “To imprison them as part of a political struggle is unconscionable.”
The medical professionals have said it was their duty to treat anyone who arrived at the hospital and have rejected accusations that treating protesters was akin to supporting their cause.
In the case of the officer’s death, the court said the convicted man, identified as Ali Yusuf Abdulwahab al-Taweel, had run down the officer with his car during antigovernment protests in Sitra, an oil hub just south of the capital, and was guilty of an act of terror. Another man, driving a second car, was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement.
Sitra, known for its activist Shiite population, was a stronghold of antigovernment activists at the height of the demonstrations.
The government of
“The government has turned to using the law for repression,” said Mohammed al-Maskati, the head of the
On Wednesday, the security court upheld life sentences for eight prominent political leaders, The Associated Press reported. Earlier in the week, the court sentenced 32 people, including at least two members of the
“They are sending a very negative message to the international community that
Human rights groups say that since the unrest began in the
Anthony Shadid contributed reporting from
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs