News / Middle East

Bahrain Court Decision on Medics Sparks Outcry

Bahrain Court Upholds Medics’ Jail Terms As Protests Continuei
|| 0:00:00
X
October 02, 2012 9:44 PM
Bahrain's highest court this week upheld the prison sentences against nine medics accused of aiding opposition protesters during demonstrations last year in the capital, Manama. The case has drawn international criticism of the Gulf kingdom, where the Shia majority continues to protest against the Sunni rulers. Henry Ridgwell reports.]]
Bahrain's highest court this week upheld the sentences against nine medics accused of aiding opposition protesters during demonstrations last year in the capital, Manama. The case has drawn international criticism of the Gulf kingdom, where the Shia majority continues to protest against the Sunni rulers.

Bahraini authorities arrested the nine medics in Manama at the height of last year's protests as uprisings swept across the Arab world.

Their convictions include theft of medical equipment, occupying a hospital and incitement to topple the state.

Dr. Nada Dhaif was among 20 medics arrested, but her conviction was quashed by an appeals court in June.

"These charges, they absolutely have no base and no proof at all," said Dhaif.  "These are all political verdicts against the doctors and medics in Bahrain in order to punish them for treating the patients."

All the medics are from Bahrain's Shia majority. Shia protesters are demanding greater freedom and equality from the Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy.

Covadonga de la Campa of Amnesty International called the court's decision outrageous.

"They have no more recourse to appeal and if their sentences are implemented they will be sent back to prison," said De la Campa.  "If they are sent back to prison we would consider them to be prisoners of conscience."

Despite the government crackdown, the protests continue on an almost daily basis.

Jane Kinninmont is an expert on Bahrain at the London policy institute Chatham House.

"The opposition says that there are over 1,000 political prisoners," said Kinninmont.  "The government for its part says that there is not a single one. One of the problems is that one year on from the Bahrain independent commission of inquiry, there is very little in the way of objective, reliable sources of information that are believed by both sides."

That inquiry was meant to answer accusations of police brutality and torture against the protesters. Seven officers are being put on trial.  But medic Nada Dhaif believes it is just for show.

"They attend the trials wearing their uniforms," added Dhaif.  "They're not even suspended. Whatever the government is promoting that they're doing reforms and they are in the process of putting the torturers and the perpetrators in front of justice, it's not real."

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmad bin Muhammad Al Khalifa did not mention the protests directly, instead accusing Iran of meddling in his country's affairs.

Analyst Jane Kinninmont of Chatham House says the protests in Bahrain rarely make the headlines in the West.

"I think it's partly an issue of media access, but it is also something that's quite uncomfortable for Western politicians who are trying to draw a distinction between their allies and the human rights abusers of the Arab world," Kinninmont noted.  

In further protests Saturday, police shot dead a 17-year-old boy during what the opposition claims was a peaceful rally. The interior ministry says the teenager was throwing firebombs.   Nineteen months after protesters took to the streets, Bahrain's uprising shows few signs of dying down.

List of convicted medics on Doctors in Chains.org.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid