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Bahrain: Medical professionals arrested and imprisoned
On 2 October 2012, six medical professionals and human rights defenders were arrested after their homes were subjected to early morning raids in Bahrain.
This followed the decision on 1 October 2012 of the Bahrain Court of Cassation in Manama to uphold the sentences imposed upon nine medical professionals in spite of unfair trials and the use of torture.
The six arrested are Dr. Ali Al Ekri (sentenced to five years); Mr. Ibrahim Al Demistani (three years); Dr. Ghassan Dhaif (one year); Dr. Saeed Al Samahiji (one year); Dr. Mahmoud Asghar (six months); and Ms. Dheya Ibrahim Abu Idris (two months). They were convicted on unsubstantiated charges including promoting the change of the political regime by force, instigating sectarian hatred and illegal detention of persons.
The doctors were detained, tortured and prosecuted together with a group of over 40 medics in 2011 because they provided emergency medical attention to injured demonstrators and because they spoke out about the injuries they had seen. The torture of the doctors and the unfair trials they faced before military courts was documented in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Following domestic and international protests they were released pending an appeal before civil courts. The appeal process again failed to meet international fair trial standards but did lead to reduced sentences and some acquittals. It is the revised sentences against nine of the medics which were upheld by the Court of Cassation on 1 October.