News / Middle East

Bahraini Source Contradicts Government Version of Crackdown

Black smoke billows from burning tents in Pearl Roundabout in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on March 16, 2011, when anti-government protesters were dislodged from the square by security forces
Black smoke billows from burning tents in Pearl Roundabout in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on March 16, 2011, when anti-government protesters were dislodged from the square by security forces

Multimedia

Audio

The Bahraini government has said it would lift a state of emergency on June 1. But controversy surrounding a violent government crackdown against anti-regime demonstrators continues to hang over the small island nation.

At the heart of that controversy are reports that the Bahraini government dispatched troops to intercept wounded protesters and prevent them from reaching a central hospital, and took action against medics who treated demonstrators that did get through.

A few days ago we spoke to Dr. Nabeel al Ansari, chief of emergency medicine at the hospital in question. He emphatically denied the reports. Following up on the story, VOA’s David Byrd was able to contact a trusted source believed to have first-hand knowledge of the protests and the events that transpired earlier this year at Salmaniya Hospital in the Bahraini capital, Manama. The person he spoke to requested that their name not be used and we have altered the person’s voice to protect their identity.

Listen to David Byrd’s interview with our Bahraini source:

Byrd: What did you see at Salmaniya Hospital during the first confrontations in the middle of February?

Bahraini source: During the first day, initially in the morning we got a few injured patients and then they stopped bringing patients. And then we discovered that the ambulances were banned from reaching [to] the protestors and there were no patients coming. So that’s why the medical personnel protested against the minister that how he banned the ambulances from going and bringing more injured patients. That’s the first day.

Byrd: Now, let’s go forward to the middle of March, it’s around March 15 or 16 when the government cracks down on the Pearl Roundabout [a major congregation point for anti-regime protesters]. What did you see going on at Salmaniya at that time?

Troops are seen guarding one of the entrances of Salmaniya Hospital in Manama, Bahrain, March 18, 2011
Troops are seen guarding one of the entrances of Salmaniya Hospital in Manama, Bahrain, March 18, 2011

Bahraini source: They attacked the roundabout. And immediately the military was surrounding the hospital with tanks and so many military people and masked men; we, the medical personnel, were inside and we were caught inside. Nobody was allowed to go out or to come in. I was there actually very early in the morning … before they came.

But any medical personnel who came after that, they didn’t allow them to come in. And we were waiting in the emergency expecting more injures - you know, expecting more injured people. But we didn’t get any, because they didn’t allow the ambulances to go any bring injured patients.

What happened at that time, the people in the roundabout - because they couldn’t reach [the] Salmaniya medical complex, which is the main hospital on the island - they started running away and those people who [were] okay they took the severely injured to nearby health centers, which are the primary health care places. A clinic, like a GP [General Practitioner], GP’s are there. So they took them there and they took them to some private hospitals. There were lots of injuries but we didn’t receive any in Salmaniya.

Byrd: The Hippocratic Oath [oath historically taken by doctors] says to do no harm; now there have been accusations that there were sectarian divisions in the distribution of treatment. Did you see any of that?

Bahrainis carry a wounded anti-government protester in Manama during the first wave of the crackdown, February 18, 2011
Bahrainis carry a wounded anti-government protester in Manama during the first wave of the crackdown, February 18, 2011

Bahraini source: Of course not! Of course not! We never ask the patient whether he’s Sunni or Shi’a. That’s all fabricated by the government. I mean, we have been living [as] Sunnis and Shi’as for years and we have very good relationship with each other. We are friends; we marry from each other and [a sectarian division] that’s not existing at all. We never ask a patient whether he is Shi’a or Sunni. That’s just the government trying to give a sectarian picture for the revolution.

Byrd: Did you happen to see President Obama’s speech to the Middle East last week and if you did, did he say what you were hoping he would?

Bahraini source: No, no, actually we were very frustrated. We thought that he would have a much stronger speech on Bahrain. He mentioned a good point about, you know, burning the Shi’a mosques and he mentioned that they have to go for dialogue and they have to release the opposition, but it wasn’t strong enough to ensure that they will do what he said or you know it wasn’t enough to emphasize the human rights violations here in Bahrain, which so many societies and so many very credible organizations have reported.

Byrd: What do you think the U.S. government should do in response to the crisis there and is President Obama’s speech strong enough or is more necessary?

Bahraini source: I think what we want to emphasize is the role of the U.S.A. in our problem in Bahrain. I think they have a big role and they should use their role in trying to solve this problem.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid