Bahrain: SIGN ON HERE - Open Letter to King of Bahrain re doctors and nurses facing unfair trial and risk of torture

You will have been aware from reports in the media and the report of Physicians for Human Rights of the unprecedented and brutal action taken by the Government of Bahrain against 47 members of the medical profession who were arrested, several of them reportedly tortured, and all of whom are currently being subjected to an unfair trial before a military court. A number of those currently detained and on trial have completed part of their medical training in Ireland.

In no other country in the world have we witnessed doctors and nurses persecuted on such a scale as a result of their legitimate humanitarian actions. They feel abandoned by the international community and need your support.

Please - show your support for these brave men and women - add your name to the open letter to the King of Bahrain, published below, and which will be placed in The Guardian and The London Independent this Friday 08 July.

If you would like to add your name to this Open Letter to King Hamad please fill in your contact details in the box below.

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Thank you for your support

Text of Open Letter to King of Bahrain

HM King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa
Office of the King

Your Majesty,

We the undersigned submit this letter to highlight our concern at the recent arrest and unfair trial before a military court of 47 doctors and nurses in Bahrain.

We are additionally concerned about serious and credible allegations of torture.

In no other country in the world have we witnessed doctors and nurses persecuted on such a scale as a result of their legitimate humanitarian actions.

Among the doctors and nurses currently on trial are three doctors who studied at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dr Ali Al Ekri, Dr Basim Daif and Dr Ghassan Daif.

All three were arbitrarily detained, held in incommunicado detention, reportedly tortured, denied access to their families for 2 months and forced to confess under duress. These “confessions” were videotaped while they were blindfolded and are being used in evidence against them.

Additionally, Dr Ghassan’s wife Dr Zahra Alsammak, who also studied in Dublin, was detained for 25 days and is also facing charges.

In light of the serious allegations of torture and the failure to comply with international fair trial standards, the role of the Military Attorney General, Colonel Yusuf Rashed Felaifel should be reviewed.

Dr Ali Al Ekri, an Orthopaedic surgeon at Salmaniya Hospital in Manama, was arrested on 17 March 2011. He was taken from the operating theatre, handcuffed, and held in incommunicado detention. Along with the others he was seen in detention, held crouching in a small space, blindfolded and handcuffed.

On March 19th Dr Basim Daif and his brother Dr Ghassan Daif were arrested. When they were taken into custody, their homes were ransacked and their valuables and important documents were taken.

Mrs Rula Al Saffar, Head of Bahrain Nursing Society, was arrested on April 4th. A cancer survivor herself, she became a board member of the Bahrain Cancer Society and remains in detention.

The charges against them include “allowing media, that supported demonstrators and were in their service, to enter the hospital and take pictures and films inside”, “making erroneous statements that include bogus and inflated numbers about the number of the injured”, “embezzlement of money”, “assault resulting in death” and “unauthorised possession of weapons and ammunition.”

Their real crimes were to treat injured demonstrators who were brought to the hospital and protesting to the Minister of Health at the refusal to send ambulances to collect the injured.

On April 9th 2011, former Front Line Protection Coordinator Abdulhadi Al Khawaja was arrested and brutally beaten. His injuries were so severe that he had to have a four hour operation in a military hospital. After an unfair trial before a military court he was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial he repeatedly tried to raise serious allegations of torture but the court refused to address them. At the same time blogger and human rights defender Ali Abdulemam was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.

Your Majesty, we appeal to you as the person responsible for upholding the rights of all the people of Bahrain to:

  • Release all human rights defenders currently in detention including Dr Ali Al Ekri, Dr Basim Daif, Dr Ghassan Daif and Mrs Rula Al Saffar.
  • Drop the charges against all 47 doctors, nurses and technicians, including Dr Zahra Alsammak.
  • Overturn the conviction of human rights defenders Ali Abdulemam and Abdulhadi Al Khawaja.
  • End the unfair trials.
  • Bring those responsible for torture to justice.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Mustafa Alawi RGN, FFNM, RCSI
Professor Ciarán Benson, Emeritus Professor of Psychology UCD
Dr Ita Brady FRCS A
Mr Owen Brady FRCSI, Mch(Orth)
Professor Donal Buggy MD, FRCPI, FCAI, FRCA
Dr Gillian Byers MRCPsych M Med Sc
Dr Enda Carroll
Kate Coleman PhD, FRCS, FRCOphth
Mr Paul Connolly MCh, FRCS Orth
Caroline de Costa LRCP&SI, PhD, FRCS(Glas)
Dr John Doherty LRCP&SI, DCh, DTM&H
Dr Niall Doherty LRCP&SI, DRCOG
Dr Veronica Donoghue FFR
Frank Dowling MCh, FRCSI
Mr Denis Evoy
Professor Desmond Fitzgerald MD, FESC, FAHA
Professor Muiris Fitzgerald MD, FRCPI, FRCP, FRCP(Ed)
Dr Clare Hapnes LRCP&SI
Rune Hapnes LRCS&PI, LM
Mr Darragh Hynes MCh, FRCS Orth
Mr Paul Keily CEO CRC
Rolf Kirschner LRSPSI, LM, MHA
Dr Hilary Lane PhD
Dr Frances Lawlor MD, FRCPI, FRCP (Lond)
Dr Sheila Lawlor DPH, MFCM
Dr Peter Lenehan FRCSI, FRCPI, FRCOG
Professor Damian Mc Cormack Bsc, MCh, FRCS Orth
Dr Eva McFadden LRCP&SI, MRCP
Dr Noel McFadden LRCP&SI
Patricia McGettrick DO, FRCSI, FRCOphth, FRCSEd
Dr Paul McGinity LRCP&SI
Mr Robert F McQuillan FRCS, FFAEM
Mr Denis Mehigan Mch, FRCSI, FRCSEd
Dr Jane B Moloney MD, FRCS
James Moore MRCPI
Michele C. Moore, MD
Professor Kevin Mulhall MCh, FRCS Orth
Professor Eoin O Brien MD, FRCP(Lond), FRCP(Edin)
Dr Brian O'Doherty
Paul Oslizlok DCH, FRCPI
Professor Harry Reich MD, FACOG
Dr Stephanie Ryan FFR, RCSI
Dr Angela Spikker LRCP&SI, DCh, Dobst
Mr Keith Synnott Mch, FRCS Orth
Mr Joseph Thomas FRCSI
Full list of the signatures of the open letter to King of Bahrain

See attached published version of Open Letter to King of Bahrain in PDF format

Thank you to signatories from Dr Dunia Al Hashimi in Bahrain

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