WMA urges Bahraini Authorities to Overturn Prison Sentences

(27.09.2012) The World Medical Association has written to Bahrain's Minister of the Interior, Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa, urging the Bahrain authorities to overturn the prison sentences handed down to health professionals for their role in last year's demonstrations.

Bahrain's Court of Cassation is due to give a final ruling on Monday (October 1) on whether to suspend the sentences given to the nine medical workers. Six of the nine, who have not completed their sentences risk being sent back to prison.

Now Dr. José-Luis Gomez do Amaral, President of the World Medical Association, has written to the Minister, saying:

‘We are gravely concerned that if jailed, the health professionals would be prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. We therefore urge the Bahrain authorities to quash the health professionals' convictions and overturn their sentences.

‘We would also strongly recommend publishing the results of any independent investigation into their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bringing anyone responsible for abuses to justice.'

In June, the High Criminal Court of Appeal in Bahrain upheld the convictions against the medical workers but reduced their prison sentences.