For Immediate Release: July 4, 2012
Washington, DC – The legal saga for 28 Bahraini medics continues as the court failed to deliver verdicts this morning as scheduled. “Justice delayed is justice denied even longer for these medics who should not be on trial in the first place,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “Today’s delay shows the dictatorship is refusing to listen to international calls for reform by continuing with these politically-motivated trials. The medics should all have been acquitted today and investigations opened into who tortured them in custody.”
The judge announced a postponement of the verdicts until September 4 to consider allegations of torture against the medics during their detention last year. The medics were prosecuted after they treated injured protestors. Some of them spoke to the international media, giving details of the violent government crackdown. “The charge sheets include ‘crimes’ such as inciting hatred against the regime and taking part in an illegal gathering. The truth is they were just doing their jobs as medics,” said Dooley.
The 28 medics who had expected their verdicts today include 13 doctors, 12 paramedics and three nurses. One of them, neurosurgeon Nabeel Hameed, told Human Rights First after the postponement was announced: “Our suffering continues and our future is unclear. All the medics are disappointed as it means our lives continue in suspended animation”.
On June 14, another group of 20 medics had their verdicts announced – nine were given sentences of between a month and five years in prison. Other medics are still being prosecuted for their perceived ties to the democracy protests, including Younis Ashoori, who is in frail condition in Jaw Prison.
Human Rights First was denied access to visit Bahrain next week, and was denied access in January 2012. It was allowed to visit Bahrain for five days in March.