…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
Random header image... Refresh for more!

King Hamad stop another travesty of justice free the Medics Now!

HRW: Bahrain: Medics Describe Torture in Detention
Appeals Court Should Void Flawed Convictions – OCTOBER 21, 2011 – BCHR

(Beirut) – Medical staff convicted by a military court of alleged serious crimes during the period of anti-government protests in Bahrain in early 2011 were subjected to abuse and torture in detention, Human Rights Watch said today. Given the fundamental unfairness of the trial, including that civilians were tried in a military court, Bahrain’s High Court of Appeals should reverse the convictions of 20 medical staff when they hear their appeal on October 23, 2011, and order an independent investigation into the defendants’ allegations of abuse and torture.

The prosecutors should drop all charges based solely on their exercise of freedom of speech and assembly, and ensure a new trial for defendants in a civilian court only if there is evidence of possible criminal activity, Human Rights Watch said. On October 5, Attorney General Ali Al Buainain announced that the appeal will “be equivalent to a retrial.” Human Rights Watch interviewed 7 of the 20 medical staff convicted of serious crimes, who told of severe abuse in detention and extensive violations of their rights to a fair trial.

“The appeals court should decisively overturn the unfair verdicts against the medics and dismiss outright all politically motivated charges,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The new hearing should also disallow allegedly coerced confessions.”

On September 29, the National Safety Lower Court, a special military court, convicted the 20 doctors, nurses, and paramedics on charges including forcibly taking over the Salmaniya Medical Complex and refusing treatment to patients based on sectarian affiliation. The court also convicted the 20 of transparently political offenses, such as “instigating hatred against the ruling system,” “incitement to overthrow the regime,” and “spreading false news.”

On March 16, the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) took control of the Salmaniya Medical Complex, the largest medical complex in Bahrain. Beginning on March 17, security forces arrested 48 medics, 28 of whom separately face lesser misdemeanor charges before a civilian court for speech-related offenses.

Medical staff interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that interrogators subjected them to physical and psychological pressure during pretrial detention, typically to coerce confessions. Authorities held many of them for weeks, much of that time incommunicado. None could meet with their lawyers to prepare their defenses prior to the military court trial. Many saw family members and lawyers for the first time on June 6, at their first trial session. …more