For Immediate Release: January 9, 2012
Washington, DC – Today in Bahrain, 20 medics again appeared in court facing baseless charges and their appeal was delayed again until March 19. In September, a military court sentenced the medics to long jail terms based on confessions resulting from torture. They stand accused for treating injured protestors and telling the media about the nature and extent of injuries.
Rick Sollom of the U.S.-based nonprofit organization Physicians for Human Rights traveled to Bahrain to observe the proceeding, but was barred from entering the country.
“The Bahrain Government continues to undermine its stated commitment to human rights reform by holding sham trials, attacking human rights defenders and denying access to international observers,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “It’s time they start giving more than lip service to meaningful reform. Otherwise, the rest of the world must take action.”
In addition to the medics, 25-year-old Bahraini Policeman Ali Jasim Al Ghanmi, who was arrested for refusing to join the government in its violent crackdown, was also in court today. He was sentenced to 12 years and 3 months in prison for publicly proclaiming that he would no longer work for the nation’s repressive dictatorship. Al Ghanmi was also tortured in custody and has spent long stretches in solitary confinement after shouting “down, down Hamad” in the prison yard.
On Friday, Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab, was hospitalized after being attacked and beaten by Bahrain police. Rajab is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He has spoken out against human rights abuses committed by the Bahraini government for years, including the recent spate of mass detentions, disappearances, deaths in custody, widespread torture, military trials, mass firings of Shias and the destruction of their mosques.
“The situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate,” concluded Dooley. “This regime must be held accountable for these abuses.”