Archive photo- Doctors meeting with the head of the commission of inquiry BICI in prison last year

18 Oct 2012

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) is extremely concerned over the health condition of the five medics on hunger strike in Bahraini prisons. Ali Al Akri, Ebrahim Al Dumistani, Ghassan Dhaif, Saeed Al Samahiji and Dhiaa Ebrahim began an open hunger strike from food and medicine in protest to their unfair detention. In 2011, 20 medics were arrested from Samaniya Hospital, some from the operation room, merely for treating injured protesters. They were subjected to severe torture during their detention and forced into confessions. They were found guilty in the Military Court and sentenced from 5 to 15 years’ imprisonment to later be reduced to acquittal and sentences from 1 month to 5 years’ imprisonment. On 1 October 2012, the Cassation Court upheld the sentences against 9 medics, while 3 had already served their sentences, 6 were arrested the next day during house raids. Dr. Mahmood Asghar was released 4 days later because of time already served.

On 13 October 2012, the 5 detained medics announced their open hunger strike, refusing to take food and medicine: 1. Ali Al Ekri – five years sentence 2. Ebrahim Al Dumistani – three years sentence 3. Ghassan Dhaif – one year sentence 4. Saeed Samahiji – one year sentence 5. Dhiaa Ebrahim – two months sentence

In a statement issued by the medics behind bars, they stated that “after the unfair politicized verdicts by the Cassation Court without considering the evidences presented by the defense, we will start an open hunger strike.” They called their action “The Lost Justice” and began their strike on 14 October 2012.

The doctors were subject to many violations which were documented in the report by the Bahraini commission of inquiry appoint by the king (BICI), including a defamation campaign in the media, and torture and ill-treatment in prison to force their confession (Read Case 13 of appendix B of the BICI Report for example). The doctors have informed the court of the torture allegations and their lawyers requested the suspension of the trial until an investigation and a judgment on the torture allegations is reached, however, the court proceeded with its verdicts and insisted on execution of the sentences, at time none of those accused with torture and other violations against the doctors is in jail.

Lawyer Hameed Al Mulla met with Dr. Ali Al Akri, consultant orthopaedic, in a visit to the prison on 16 Oct 2012 where he told him that Ebrahim Al Dumistani was transferred to the hospital. However, he did not receive any medical treatment and was badly treated. Dr. Ali Al Akri is suffering from low blood sugar himself; however, He confirmed in the visit that they will continue their hunger strike in protest to their unfair sentences and detention while torturers are free without trials.

The BCHR believes that the doctors and medics are targeted for their role in treating the injured protesters in the Feb/Mar 2011 crackdown, and for being witnesses to the crimes that mounted to murder without holding any official accountable to date. BCHR calls the US, the UK, the EU and other governments that have influence on the Bahraini regime to call for an immediate release of the five doctors in detention.

The documentary movie which was presented by the defense team to the court: