- For months, courageous Bahrainis protested peacefully
against the Al Khalifa monarchy's repressive brutality, corruption, and
discrimination, as well as unemployment, poverty, and other unaddressed
social justice issues.
- The response has been ruthless state terrorism against
anyone challenging regime control, no matter how lawless, barbaric, and
unresponsive to basic human rights and needs.
- Since the mid-February uprising began, America's media
largely ignored it, especially extreme repression Washington supports.
Complicit in helping a key ally, Bahrain is home to the Navy's Fifth Fleet,
strategically located in the heart of the Persian Gulf.
- On June 6, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
highlighted the mistreatment of doctors and nurses, explaining their arrests,
detentions, torture and upcoming military trials for doing their job.
- Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) President
Stephen Soldz spoke publicly saying:
- "We cannot be silent. Many of our members are health
providers. The government of Bahrain arrested nearly 50 doctors and other
health providers, many of whom have been tortured. Their 'crime' is refusing
to let injured protesters die and informing the world press about the abuses
- Scheduled to start on June 6, trials for 47 doctors and
other medical providers will begin next week, maliciously charged with:
- -- refraining from providing aid;
- -- embezzling public funds;
- -- physical assault;
- -- assault leading to death;
- -- possessing unlicensed weapons and ammunition;
- -- not performing their employment duties, and thus endangering
lives and health;
- -- forcefully occupying a public building;
- -- promoting regime change illegally;
- -- inciting hatred against the regime;
- -- promoting sectarian hate;
- -- spreading false news and rumors harming the public
- -- participating in unlicensed protests and rallies.
- In fact, doctors and nurses are being tried for doing
their job. They committed no crimes but are treated like enemies of the
- Justifying its repression, regime authorities said a
military court will try 23 doctors and 24 nurses. "They abused their
profession and prevented some people from entering the Salmaniya Hospital
(the nation's largest public facility)." In fact, despite extreme
repression, they performed heroically, treating sick and wounded patients.
- Yet Salmaniya Hospital was falsely called a hotbed of
sectarian tension. BCHR said "it is quite clear that it was the presence
of military and police inside the hospital which sparked this tension,
with security forces interfering with the doctors' work," instigating
violence by their actions.
- In fact, regime authorities fear medical providers for
reflecting the non-sectarian nature of the protests, opposite of what security
- "Their Hippocratic Oath means they have to treat
patients regardless of politics or religion. They are a symbol of the unity
of the majority against the oppression of the (fascist) government and
its cronies, and therefore they are dangerous."
- As long as King Hamad keeps Bahrainis divided and has
Western and Gulf Council States backing, he can retain power. It's why
he reacted violently against the slogan "No Sunni, No Shia, just Bahraini."
- BCHR believes doctors and nurses were especially targeted
because they're key witnesses to criminal acts. They've seen dead, wounded
and tortured victims and can provide damning evidence if asked. If silenced,
however, by intimidation, torture and/or show trials, key witnesses will
be lost. "We must not let the government get away with these crimes."
- Many other medical providers are afraid to speak publicly
about what they've seen or know, fearing retaliation. However, some gave
the international media anonymous statements.
- On May 29, AFP headlined, "Bahraini female doctors
recount detention 'horror,' " saying:
- Released from prison, Shiite women doctors explained
"abuse and torture by police after being accused of backing pro-democracy
protests in the Sunni-led monarchy."
- They explained they were tortured and abused to sign
confessions, one doctor saying her interrogator said:
- "I advise you that we will get you to say whatever
we want, either by you saying it willingly, or we will beat you like a
donkey and torture you until you say it."
- Explaining she treated wounded patients, she was struck
in the face, an interrogator saying:
- "It seems you don't want to cooperate," accusing
her of "stealing blood units to splash on the wounded" to exaggerate
injuries for television and other crimes against state authorities.
- Blindfolded and handcuffed, she was severely beaten,
electro-shocked, thrown to the floor, beaten again with electric cables,
especially the soles of her feet. "Even policewomen were shocked when
they saw my state as I came out of the interrogation room," she said.
- The next day, she was again abused, sexually harassed
and threatened with rape, an interrogator saying "I will hang you
from your breasts and rape you." She finally signed a confession to
end the ordeal. Afterward, she spent 20 more days in prison before released,
agreeing not to give interviews or participate in protests.
- Other doctors described similar ordeals. Those freed
can't travel, remain suspended from work unpaid, and 47 doctors and nurses
face trials. AFP asked Bahraini authorities to comment, but got no response.
- By politicizing medical care and abusing doctors and
nurses, injured protesters are afraid to get treatment, fearing arrests,
torture, trials and convictions. As a result, determining precise numbers
hurt is compromised, suggesting many more than publicly known.
- Nonetheless, for nearly four months, Bahrain's "had
the highest per capita arrests and second highest per capita deaths of
any Arab country (after Libya)...." America ignored it, Obama urging
only dialogue and resolution, quietly going along with criminal viciousness.
- As a result, it's up to people of conscience, independent
journalists, and international public opinion to explain what can't be
ignored, demanding accountability for crimes this great and all political
prisoners released and exonerated.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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