November 25, 2013
IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) recently reaffirmed its call to the Bahraini government to immediately release medical professionals who have been wrongfully imprisoned and to stop the ongoing targeting of the medical community.
PHR, which has documented the Bahraini government’s attacks on doctors and illegal use of tear gas, also stressed the need to stop shipments of tear gas to the kingdom in order to prevent more abuses against the Bahraini people.
Three medical professionals who remain imprisoned in Bahrain recently issued a handwritten letter from jail urging “all the medics all over the world especially those at the zones of conflict to abide to and hold tight on the noble ethics and principles of medical neutrality.” Medical neutrality is the principle that requires government not to interfere with the functioning of health services during conflict or unrest. Following anti-government protests in 2011, Bahraini government forces deliberately targeted medical facilities and arrested, beat, and tortured dozens of health workers. “By targeting doctors and nurses, the Bahraini government is not only scarring these individuals, but instilling fear in those who need medical care, and harming entire communities,” said Hans Hogrefe, PHR’s chief policy officer and Washington director.
The health workers who authored the letter from jail are: nurse Hasan Matooq, who was sentenced to three years in prison and is due to be released in March 2014; Dr. Ali Al Ekri, pediatric orthopedic surgeon sentenced to five years of imprisonment and due to be released in March 2017; and nurse Ibrahim Aldemistani, sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and due to be released in April 2015.