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Jailing of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain a sham – Mac Lochlainn

14 June, 2012 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Responding to the Bahrain appeals court verdict which today convicted nine doctors for their role in last year's pro-democracy uprising, the Sinn Féin spokesperson for foreign affairs and trade Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that the judgement was “completely unjustifiable.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“All twenty health workers who received their verdicts today were arrested last year by masked gunmen without warrants; tortured; forced to sign confessions under duress and were given an unfair military trial.

“In one of the most deplorable cases affecting the medical community in Bahrain, the orthopaedic surgeon who trained at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland in Dublin, Dr. Ali Al- Akri, was abducted from the operating room at Salmaniya Hospital while performing surgery on March 17th 2011 and like all others arrested, was imprisoned and tortured. Today he received a sentence of five years imprisonment.

“Over the past 16 months tens of thousands of Bahrainis have been brutally attacked by government forces. International Organisations such as Human Right Watch, Médecins Sans Frontières, Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty International have all unequivocally condemned the Bahraini Government’s actions over the past year.

“The verdict of guilt passed on nine of the original twenty medical staff arrested is disturbingly wrong.

“The RCSI needs to do more than express 'deep concern' now. The situation has moved well beyond sympathetic noise. Accountability must come first. Irish-trained doctors are being imprisoned in Bahrain for speaking out against a regime which punishes those who call for the respect of human rights.

“The Tánaiste now needs to call for all sentences to be dropped. All violations of humans rights, kidnapping and mistreatment especially torture need to be investigated as do those who were directly involved. And finally, all medics should be reinstated to their jobs and fairly compensated.

“I am calling on the Government to take urgent action now.”

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