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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Bahrain – Write letters demanding release of Bahraini medical staff

Action Alert: Bahrain – Write letters demanding release of Bahraini medical staff

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Nine Bahraini medical staff sentenced on 14 June for having treated protesters.

Contents

1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter
5. Addresses for sample letters

1. Summary

On 14 June, the sentences of nine Bahraini medical professionals were upheld by a Bahraini court. Initially sentenced in a military court, they received up to five years imprisonment for having supported protests during the 2011 uprisings.

Write letters to the foreign minister of your country; and to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover. Demand that they act so that the Bahraini regime frees these prisoners.

2. Background

In 2011, IHRC campaigned on behalf of medical staff at the Salmaniyah Medical Complex in Manama, Bahrain, who were terrorised by the regime’s security forces for helping injured protesters. The hospital was put under siege by Bahraini and GCC security forces, who prevented the wounded from entering the hospital and physically abused members of staff that treated them. Over twenty medical professionals were sentenced in a military court in proceedings that took place in the same year.

On 14 June 2012 – over a year after the siege of the Salmaniyah Medical Complex – sentences against nine of these medical staff were reversed in a court of appeal. The regime now admits that its allegations that medical staff were in possession of weapons, and were occupying the Salmaniyah Medical Complex, were false. The court was forced to drop charges against Dr Ahmed Abdul Aziz Omran, Rola Al Saffar, Sayed Marhoon Al-Wedaie, Dr Nada Dhaif, Dr Fatima Haji, Dr Najah Khalil Al-Haddad, Dr Zahra Al-Sammak, Hassan Mohammed Said, and Mohammed Faiq Ali.

However, the same court upheld the sentences of nine other medical staff. Their names and sentences are as follows:

1.    Dr Ali Al-Ekri – 5 years imprisonment.
2.    Dr Nader Diwani – 1 month imprisonment.
3.    Dr Mahmoud Asghar – 6 months imprisonment.
4.    Dr Abdulkhaleq Al-Oraibi – 1 month imprisonment.
5.    Dr Ghassan Dhaif – 1 year imprisonment.
6.    Dr Bassim Dhaif – 1 month imprisonment.
7.    Dheya Ibrahim AbuIdris – 2 months imprisonment.
8.    Dr Saeed Al-Samahiji – 1 year imprisonment.
9.    Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahim – 3 years imprisonment.

The government still accuses these medical professionals of conspiring against the regime, and engaging in peaceful demonstrations. They have been the subject of a propaganda campaign by the al-Khalifah regime, which has branded them as “sectarian”. They have not been given a fair trial, as the Bahraini judiciary cannot be considered free and independent.

Many have claimed that they were tortured under interrogation, and forced to sign confessions.

The siege of Salmaniyah Medical Complex continues through the intimidation, persecution and imprisonment of its medical staff. What is particularly worrying is that there has of yet been any condemnation by Western governments, or at the United Nations.

3. Action Required

IHRC requests its campaigners and supporters to write letters and emails to foreign minister of their country; and to the UN’s special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover. Demand that they act so that the Bahraini regime frees these prisoners.

4. Sample letters
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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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a) Mr Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.
Mr Anand Grover,
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health,
OHCHR-UNOG,
8-14, avenue de la Paix,
1211 Geneva 10,
SWITZERLAND.

E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Mr Anand Grover,

Re: Imprisonment of nine medical staff in Bahrain on politicised charges.

On 14 June 2012 – over a year after the events at Salmaniyah Medical Complex – a court of appeal upheld the sentences of nine medical staff members. Their names and sentences are as follows:

1.    Dr Ali Al-Ekri – 5 years imprisonment.
2.    Dr Nader Diwani – 1 month imprisonment.
3.    Dr Mahmoud Asghar – 6 months imprisonment.
4.    Dr Abdulkhaleq Al-Oraibi – 1 month imprisonment.
5.    Dr Ghassan Dhaif – 1 year imprisonment.
6.    Dr Bassim Dhaif – 1 month imprisonment.
7.    Dheya Ibrahim AbuIdris – 2 months imprisonment.
8.    Dr Saeed Al-Samahiji – 1 year imprisonment.
9.    Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahim – 3 years imprisonment.

The government still accuses these medical professionals of conspiring against the regime, and engaging in peaceful demonstrations. They have been the subject of a propaganda campaign by the al-Khalifah regime, which has branded them as “sectarian”. Many have claimed that they were tortured by interrogators, and forced to sign confessions.

The siege of Salmaniyah Medical Complex did not end in 2011. It continues through the intimidation, persecution and imprisonment of its medical staff. What is particularly worrying is that there has of yet been any condemnation by the United Nations.

I ask that as Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, you pressure the Bahraini regime to release these doctors and medics immediately. Every individual bears the right to healthcare, and likewise all people have the right of free association and political expression. These rights are being denied to the people of Bahrain, and in this instance to these nine medical professionals.

The Bahraini regime cannot go on intimidating its medical professionals with impunity, and it is your duty to ensure that they are stopped.

I look forward to you reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

b) Minister of foreign affairs in your country. (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below, fax: +44 (0)20 7839 2417 or email: private.office@fco.gov.uk)

Rt Hon. William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London,
SW1A 2AH,
United Kingdom.

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Mr William Hague,

Re: Imprisonment of nine medical staff in Bahrain on politicised charges.

On 14 June 2012 – over a year after the events at Salmaniyah Medical Complex – a court of appeal upheld the sentences of nine medical staff members. Their names and sentences are as follows:

1.    Dr Ali Al-Ekri – 5 years imprisonment.
2.    Dr Nader Diwani – 1 month imprisonment.
3.    Dr Mahmoud Asghar – 6 months imprisonment.
4.    Dr Abdulkhaleq Al-Oraibi – 1 month imprisonment.
5.    Dr Ghassan Dhaif – 1 year imprisonment.
6.    Dr Bassim Dhaif – 1 month imprisonment.
7.    Dheya Ibrahim AbuIdris – 2 months imprisonment.
8.    Dr Saeed Al-Samahiji – 1 year imprisonment.
9.    Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahim – 3 years imprisonment.

These medical professionals have been the subject of a massive propaganda campaign by the government, who accuse them of conspiring against Bahraini regime by engaging in peaceful demonstrations. Many have reported of being tortured by interrogators, and forced to sign confessions.

The siege of Salmaniyah Medical Complex did not end in 2011. It continues through the intimidation, persecution and imprisonment of its medical staff. What is particularly worrying is that there has of yet been any condemnation by the British government.

I demand that as foreign minister, you reverse the shameful trend of silence when it comes to human rights abuses in Bahrain. Every individual bears the right to healthcare, and likewise all people have the right of association and political expression. These rights are being denied to the Bahraini people, and to these nine medical professionals.

The Bahraini regime cannot go on intimidating its medical professionals with impunity, and you must ensure that they are stopped. You cannot continue to be complicit in the climate of fear and repression in Bahrain.

I look forward to you reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]
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5. Addresses for sample letters

a) Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia.

Australian campaigners can write to:

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP,
House of Representatives,
Parliament House,
Canberra ACT 2600.

Telephone: (02) 6277 7500

b) Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canada.

Canadian campaigners can write to:

Minister of Foreign Affairs – John Baird,
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada,
125 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, ON, Canada,
K1A 0G2.

c) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

Indonesian campaigners can write to:

Dr R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Jl. Pejambon No.6.
Jakarta Pusat, 10110
Indonesia

Telephone: (62 21) 344 15 08

d) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.

Malaysian campaigners can write to:

Honourable Dato' Sri Anifah Hj. Aman
Wisma Putra, No 1, Jalan Wisma Putra,
Precint 2, 62602 PUTRAJAYA
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Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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