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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid