Documento - Bahrain: Further information: Civilian 'retrial' of medics set for 23 October

URGENT ACTION



FU UA: 296/11 Index: MDE 11/054/2011 Bahrain Date: 7 October 2011


URGENT ACTION

civilian ‘retrial’ of medics set for 23 october

The appeal for twenty health professionals sentenced by a military court in Bahrain on 29 September to between five and 15 years has been set for 23 October. It will take place before a civilian court.

On 5 October Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor announced that he had appealed against last week’s verdict on 20 health professionals, in which Bahrain's National Safety Court of First Instance, a military court, announced prison sentences ranging from five to 15 years. There will be an appeal before the High Criminal Court of Appeal, a civilian court, on 23 October, which will be considered as a “retrial“.

At the military trial, the military prosecution is reported to have failed to provide any substantive evidence that the accused used or advocated violence during the popular protests in February and March. Amnesty International believes that the real reason the health professionals were charged may be because some of them had denounced the government crackdown on protesters in interviews to international media.

In order for the “retrial“ to be a fair trial, certain conditions must be met: the court must start a fresh investigation into the charges levelled against defendants and must re-evaluate all the evidence; the court must dismiss all previous statements given by defendants which were said to have been coerced through torture or other ill-treatment. Finally, it must hear all defendants and allow lawyers to bring in witnesses.


Please write immediately in English or Arabic:

  • Express concern that the 20 health professionals were sentenced by a military court after what appears to have been an unfair and politically motivated trial;

  • Express concern that if imprisoned, these health professionals may be prisoners of conscience imprisoned solely on account of peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience being held in Bahrain;

  • Urge the authorities to ensure that the appeal of the 20 health professionals meets international standards of fair trial: the court must start a fresh investigation, it must dismiss statements obtained under torture and the court must hear defendants and allow defence lawyers to bring witnesses;

  • Urge the authorities to immediately set up an independent investigation into the alleged torture or other ill-treatment of some of the defendants, to make its results public, and bring to justice anyone responsible.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 OCTOBER 2011 TO:

King

Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

Office of His Majesty the King

P.O. Box 555

Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 176 64 587/ +973 17664587

Salutation: Your Majesty

Prime Minister

Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa

Office of the Prime Minister

P.O. Box 1000, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 175 33 033

Salutation: Your Highness


Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs

P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

Fax: +973 175 31 284

Salutation: Your Excellency



Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.


Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 296/11. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/053/2011/en


URGENT ACTION

civilian ‘retrial’ of medics set for 23 october


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The 20 individuals sentenced on 29 September are among 48 health professionals from the Salmaniya Medical Complex who were arrested in March and April 2011. Some of them had been vocal in giving interviews to foreign media and accusing the government of atrocities against protesters. All were held incommunicado for several weeks. In most cases their families did not know their whereabouts for most of this time and were only allowed to see them during the first session of the trial that started on 6 June. The 48 were split into two groups on 13 June: 20 of them were accused of felonies, or more serious offences, while the remaining were accused of misdemeanours, or less serious offences. Many of them started hunger strike in protest at their detention and trial and were gradually released on bail in August and September 2011.

Ali ‘Esa Mansoor al-‘Ekri, Nader Mohammed Hassan Dewani, Ahmed ‘Abdulaziz Omran Hassan, Mahmood Asghar ‘Abdulwahab, ‘Abdulkhaleq ‘Ali Hussain al-‘Oraibi, Ghassan Ahmed ‘Ali Dhaif, Bassim Ahmed ‘Ali Dhaif, Ebrahim ‘Abdullah Ebrahim;, Sayed Marhoon Majid al-Wedaei; Roula Jassim Mohammed al-Saffar, Nada Sa’eed ‘Abdelnabi Dhaif , ‘Ali Hassan al-Sadadi and Qassim Mohammad ‘Omran were sentenced to 15 years in prison. Hassan Mohammed Sa’eed Nasser and Sa’eed Mothaher Habib Al Samahiji were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. Fatima Salman Hassan Haji , Dhia Ibrahim Ja’far , Najah Khalil Ibrahim Hassan, Zahra Mahdi al-Sammak and Mohammed Faeq ‘Ali Al Shehab were sentenced to five years in prison.

The arrests of the health professionals followed a crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bahrain in mid-March. On 16 March the government sent in the security forces, backed by helicopters and tanks, to storm the Pearl Roundabout area and forcibly evict the protesters gathered there. In the ensuing clashes, at least two protesters and two police officers were reported killed and dozens of people were injured by the security forces as they violently cleared the area of protesters. The security forces also took similar action to forcibly evict protesters from the nearby Financial Harbour area.

As in mid-February 2011, when conducting these and other actions against the protesters, the security forces used rubber bullets, tear gas and, in some cases, live ammunition, sometimes at very close range, and in circumstances where the use of weapons such as shotguns and other firearms could not be justified on the grounds that this was necessary to protect their own or others’ lives. Such excessive force was used in Manama and also, according to information gathered by Amnesty International, in Sitra, Nuwaiderat and al-Ma’ameer. Witnesses told Amnesty International that soldiers and other security forces had fired tear gas at people close to the entrance to the Sitra Medical Centre and at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, where some protesters, including injured people receiving medical treatment were also said to have been arrested and taken away.

As the military and security forces took control of the Pearl Roundabout, the Financial Harbour and the Salmaniya Medical Complex, they launched an orchestrated crackdown on Shi’a political and community leaders and activists who had been prominent in leading the protests and who had publicly criticized members of the royal family and called for a change of government during protests at the Pearl Roundabout or other demonstrations and marches. Hundreds of people have since been arrested and many are on trial and have been sentenced on charges, including ”inciting hatred towards the regime”.

Names: ‘Ali ‘Esa Mansoor al-‘Ekri (m), Nader Mohammed Hassan Dewani (m), Ahmed ‘Abdulaziz Omran Hassan (m), Mahmood Asghar ‘Abdulwahab (m), ‘Abdulkhaleq ‘Ali Hussain al-‘Oraibi (m), Ghassan Ahmed ‘Ali Dhaif (m), Bassim Ahmed ‘Ali Dhaif (m), Ebrahim ‘Abdullah Ebrahim (m);, Sayed Marhoon Majid al-Wedaei (m); Roula Jassim Mohammed al-Saffar (f), Nada Sa’eed ‘Abdelnabi Dhaif (f) , ‘Ali Hassan al-Sadadi (m), Qassim Mohammad ‘Omran (m) Hassan Mohammed Sa’eed Nasser (m), Sa’eed Mothaher Habib Al Samahiji (m), Fatima Salman Hassan Haji (f), Dhia Ibrahim Ja’far (f), Najah Khalil Ibrahim Hassan (f), Zahra Mahdi al-Sammak (f) and Mohammed Faeq ‘Ali Al Shehab (m)




Further information on UA: 296/11 Index: MDE 11/054/2011 Issue Date: 7 October 2011


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