Bail for doctors held over Bahrain protest

Thu, Sep 8, 2011, 01:00

THE RELEASE on bail of 12 Bahrani doctors who were in detention following pro-democracy protests has been welcomed by Dublin-based human rights organisation Front Line.

Three of the doctors, Dr Ali Al Ekri, Dr Ghassan Daif and Dr Basim Daif, had trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

All of the doctors have been on hunger strike for more than a week, say the organisation.

Responding to the releases, Front Line executive director Mary Lawlor said it offers hope that the government of Bahrain could address concerns raised by human rights defenders in the country. “It is a travesty of justice that health professionals who had simply honoured their Hippocratic oath by providing emergency medical treatment to injured demonstrators should be arrested, tortured and tried before a military court,” Ms Lawlor said yesterday. A spokesman for the organisation, Jim Loughran, said the trial has been set for September 28th.

Front Line remains concerned that the charges still stand and the trials will continue before a military court in which defendants are denied the opportunity to present witnesses or to question prosecution witnesses.

The 12 doctors were detained following pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in February, along with 35 other medical professionals since released pending trial on charges of participating in efforts to topple the government. Two of these, Dr Rula al Saffar, head of the Bahrain Nursing Society, and Jalila al Salman, deputy head of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association, are awaiting trial this week.