Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Local Editor
Bahraini authorities have tortured some 47 medics as they went on trial for giving medical treatment to injured anti-government protesters.

Media outlets reported on Tuesday that dozens of doctors and nurses told their families they were subjected to physical, psychological and verbal abuse by the Bahraini interrogators while in custody.

“Doctors and nurses put on trial in Bahrain yesterday told relatives they were beaten with hoses and wooden boards embedded with nails and made to eat feces. They also had to stand without moving for hours, or even days, and were deprived of sleep in order to force them to sign false confessions”, the British daily, The Independent, reported.
The 47 health professionals were arraigned in a closed hearing in a security court, the Associated Press said.

The medics were put on trial on Monday. Some 24 doctors, along with 23 nurses and paramedics, were charged with crimes that included participation in efforts to overthrow Bahrain's monarchy, taking part in illegal rallies and refusing to help persons in need.

Authorities also accused medical workers of lying and exaggerating on satellite channels with the aim of tarnishing the international image of the country.

The 47 medics were arrested in March when Bahrain declared martial law and undertook a harsh crackdown against protesters.

The Independent also quoted a witness as saying that medics in the custody were “blindfolded and handcuffed. These were only removed when the [court] session began”.

The health workers were arraigned in two groups, some 20 being charged with felonies and the remainder with misdemeanors.

The first group "all had their heads shaven. Most of them had lost a lot of weight. Most were either in casual attire or pyjamas", the witness who asked for their name to be withheld added.

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