30 September 2011

Meanwhile in Bahrain...

The Independent reports that a Bahrain military court has sentenced 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics who treated protesters injured during pro-democracy rallies earlier in the year to up to 15 years in prison.

The harsh sentences, handed down by a military judge, are likely to anger Bahrain's Shia Muslim majority and torpedo hopes of dialogue between them and the reigning Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty. The court's action may be a sign that hardliners within the royal family have taken control.

A statement from the official Information Affairs Authority is headed "Bahraini Doctors Sentenced for Plotting Overthrow of Government". It quotes the Military Prosecutor, Colonel Yussef Rashid Flaifel, as saying that 13 medical professionals had been sentenced to 15 years in prison, two to 10 years, and five to five years. It goes on to say that the doctors, in addition to plotting a revolution, "were charged with the possession of weapons and ammunition, forcefully taking over control of Salmaniya hospital and its personnel, stealing medical equipment, and fabricating stories to disturb public security".

The sentenced include Rola al-Saffar, the head of Bahrain's nurses' society, and Ali al-Iqri, a distinguished surgeon who was arrested in an operating theatre on 17 March. None of the defendants was in court to hear the sentences read out and the hearing was attended only by their lawyers and relatives. Defendants say that the military judges refuse to listen to allegations that they had been tortured.

The medical staff worked in the Salmaniya Medical Complex in the capital, Manama, and treated those injured in fighting between protesters and security forces after pro-democracy rallies started on 14 February. After the government crackdown in mid-March, doctors and nurses were accused of planning an armed insurrection in league with Iran.

Ali Salman, the leader of al-Wifaq, the main Shia political party, said that the medical professionals sentenced yesterday alleged "they had been tortured". He said he suspected that hardliners within the royal family were using the trials "to send a message to [President] Obama", who last week at the UN called on the Bahraini government to negotiate with al-Wifaq.

An utter bloody disgrace. Perhaps it's time for another bunch of Arab despots to be consigned to the dustbin of history... Oh wait a minute they are on our side. With friends like that ...

6 comments:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Incarcerating doctors for doing what they are sworn to do - hm... makes sense - like most everything in the Middle East...

Andrew said...

Back to reality then. I don't much like reality.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What an unpleasant bunch!

jams o donnell said...

It is disgusting isn't it Snoopy

It isn't fun Andrew... back to Don QuiScottie and Shaunso!

A bunch of utter bastards in charge of Bahrain Welshcakes

susan said...

This is so sad and disgusting I have no words to express my contempt for the perpetrators.

jams o donnell said...

It makes me utterly sick too. That we are friends with these bastards is a disgrace