Testimonies from Bahrain: Arrested for treating the injured
This blog was written before its author and 19 other health workers were sentenced to prison by Bahrain’s National Safety Court of First Instance on 29 September.
I am a health worker at Salmaniya hospital, the main hospital in Bahrain. I'm married and have one child.
Before the Bahrain revolution I was living my life as any other working mother, focusing on my job and taking care of my small family.
But every person has a turning point in their life, an event that feels like a storm hitting their soul, and mine was 17 February 2011.
On that day we started to hear at 3 am that protesters at Pearl Roundabout were being attacked by the police. Soon, the injured and the dead began to arrive at the hospital.
I saw a 60-year-old man with part of his head blown away. I was shocked and horrified and began to wonder what this man could have done that led to these injuries.
That day changed my life. I felt bad seeing my own people treated like animals.
Soon afterwards people began to be arrested and every night I would hug my son worrying whether it was my turn next.
In April, my fears came true and I was taken from my house by more than 30 masked men with guns in front of my son, whom I had to leave alone.
I was physically and emotionally abused, blindfolded and handcuffed. They beat me - with their hands and legs, with a hose, and gave me electric shocks.
They threatened to rape me. They threatened to kill me so that I would confess to false accusations. I was sexually harassed and humiliated.
I felt lonely, scared and ashamed. It felt like a nightmare that was happening over and over again. All the time I was worried about who was feeding my son and taking care of him.
After 22 days in prison they called me and they told me I was going to be released on bail.
When I saw my son we stood for a couple of minutes before he ran into my arms. I hugged him and cried.
The first weeks after my release were like a horror film. I felt that someone could come stab me in the back at any time. As soon as the sun set every day I started to cry and couldn't sleep until the morning as I was scared I could be arrested again.
Then the horror of the military courts started. For the first few hearings we were in shock and couldn't believe that the government was still insisting on going ahead with this drama and accusing us of totally unbelievable charges.
At the final hearing on 29 September they will sentence us. I believe that they know we are innocent but they will sentence us anyway. It is a political act so that others will get the message.
If I had the choice again, I would still do my duty at the hospital to save injured people regardless of their backgrounds.
I will always love my country and its people; they make me proud that I am from Bahrain.
I am waiting patiently, I am a believer. I believe that truth always wins and will always be seen, no matter how long it takes. The only thing that makes me weak is not watching my son grow in front of me and the fear that he might forget me if I got imprisoned for many years.
May God help us medics and all Bahraini people.
Bahrain military court finds medics guilty (News, 29 September 2011)
Testimonies from Bahrain: A hospital under siege (Blog, 7 September 2011)
Bahrain faces fresh torture claims over health workers’ trial (News, 7 June 2011)
Crackdown in Bahrain: Human Rights at the crossroads (Report, 11 February 2011)