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Release of Health Professionals in Bahrain - 08.09.11

Release of Doctors with continuation of trial, postponement of appeal of 21 prominent figures.

Letter from Maryam Al-Khawaja, Head of Foreign Relations Office, Bahrain Center for Human Rights

Dear Friends,

In good news, the military court today decided to release the remaining medical staff in detention who were on their 9th day of hunger strike. There is still concern for them as the charges have not been dropped, and the reading of the verdict was set for the 29th of September. This means they are still at high risk of being re-arrested at any time. The release comes after doctors in Ireland, the UK, USA and France announced they were to join 24 hour solidarity fast for the doctors, and hundreds in Bahrain joined the hunger strike in solidarity with the doctors including Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and AbdulJalil AlSingace.

The appeal of the 21 prominent figures yesterday was postponed until the 28th of September. The lawyer requested during the hearing that the detainees be allowed to address the court about being subjected to torture, but the request was denied. Alkhawaja's lawyer said that he was very concerned about the well being of his client as he appeared to be in poor health and was very thing and pale.

There remains to be a large number of detainees on hunger strike (more than 100) in the Dry docks prison and the Jaw prison. There is great concern about their health. 

A few days ago Mohammed AlHaiki, a sacked employee, decided to run into the Pearl square carrying the Bahrain flag. As shown on this video: he was chased then beaten by security forces (they appear to be from the army as per their uniform), then arrested. The latest we received was that he was in the hospital due to the severe beating, and is now being charged with assaulting a police officer. Today another man, Mohammed Jaffar decided to do the same thing, and we received news that he was also beaten and arrested. There is no news about him yet. People are now talking about planning on doing the same thing but in much bigger groups, some even calling for thousands to go into Pearl square on the 23rd of September. In another act of personal defiance a man decided to run in front of the riot police jeeps to prevent them from entering the village of Sitrah during protests: http://twitter.com/#!/mohdashoor/status/110047110220623872/photo/1

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry has announced that and international expert on hunger strike has joined the team: http://www.bici.org.bh/?news=another-international-expert-to-join-the-bici-team

The majority of areas in Bahrain are still witnessing protests on a nightly basis, and we receive reports about injuries on a nightly basis. A 9 year old boy was hit with a stun grenade in the head, and we are still waiting to hear about his health condition. Last night 7 youth were beaten severely in Barbar then arrested. At least one of them was 12 years old. Another young boy was hit by one of the riot police jeeps then arrested. 

Best,

--

Maryam Al-Khawaja
Contact: +1 (224) 829-2555
Head of Foreign Relations Office
Bahrain Center for Human Rights


PRESS RELEASE, Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) today renewed its call upon the Irish Government, and the EU, to step up their efforts to secure the freedom of 12 medical professionals still detained, without reason, by the authorities in Bahrain.

The INMO understands that the 12 remaining health professionals, still in detention, have now commenced a hunger strike in protest at their unwarranted and unlawful imprisonment. The INMO supports the efforts of everyone, in this country, who are working to highlight these unjust detentions against dedicated professionals whose only “crime” was to care for everyone, regardless of background, who was ill or injured.

The Organisation welcomes the decision of the authorities in Bahrain to free nurses and other health professionals, detained until recently, but they must now, without delay, free the remaining 12 detainees.

Speaking on this matter this morning, INMO President, Sheila Dickson said:

“The Irish Government, and the EU, must utilise all avenues to have pressure applied upon the Government of Bahrain to free these innocent people. All health professionals are obliged, by their code of practice, to care for everyone, without fear or favour, and there is never justification for detaining any individual who follows this code.

The INMO will continue to work with all parties to get the widest movement possible to secure the freedom of the remaining 12 detainees.”

-end-

 
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