World Physician Leaders Appeal Directly to King of Bahrain


(14.10.2011) A direct and urgent appeal to the King of Bahrain to protect the physicians of his country was made today (Friday) by the World Medical Association.

The 26 members of the WMA Council signed a joint letter to King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa urging him to ensure a fair retrial for the physicians and other health professionals who face lengthy prison sentences for treating people during the recent civil unrest. The letter also called on the King to reinstall the elected leadership of the Bahrain Medical Association following its recent takeover by the Government.

The letter enclosed two resolutions passed by the WMA Council at its meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay this week. The first expressed the hope that the retrial of the 20 Bahraini physicians and other health professionals would follow international standards for fair trials. The second, on the independence of medical associations, denounced the silencing of medical associations by governments placing their own nominated representatives into positions of authority.

The WMA letter expressed the Association's dismay at the dismantling of the Bahrain Medical Association by the Government, concluding: ‘The physicians of the world respectfully ask for your support to actively protect the physicians in your country and to ensure their ability to best serve their patients without unfair discrimination. We likewise respectfully ask for your support to reinstall the elected leadership of the Bahrain Medical Association.'

The WMA Council signatories to the letter were: Dr. Wonchat Subhachaturas, WMA President (Thailand), Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, Chair of Council (Australia), Dr. José Luiz Gomes do Amaral, President-Elect (Brazil), Dr. Dana Hanson (Canada), Dr. Masami Ishii (Japan), Dr. Vinay Aggarwal (India), Dr. Florentino Cardoso (Brazil), Dr. Peter W. Carmel (USA), Dr. Xavier Deau (France), Dr. Roberto Luiz d'Avila (Brazil), Dr. Yoram Blachar (Israel), Dr. Torunn Janbu, (Norway), Prof. A. C. Nieuwenhuijzen Kruseman (Netherlands), Dr. Ajay Kumar (India), Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus (United States), Dr. Mphata Norman Mabasa (South Africa), Sir Michael Marmot, (UK), Dr. Frank-Ulrich Montgomery (Germany), Dr. Dongchun Shin (Republic of Korea), Dr. Robert Ouellet (Canada), Dr. Ramin Parsa-Parsi (Germany), Dr. Alarico Rodriguez de León (Uruguay), Dr. Jón G. Snædal (Iceland), Dr. Cecil B. Wilson (USA), Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura (Japan) and Dr. Otmar Kloiber, WMA Secretary General (Germany).

Letter to the King of Bahrain
WMA Council Resolution on Bahrain
WMA Council Resolution on Independence of Medical Associations