On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.102 n.6 Cape Town Jun. 2012
Imprisonment and torture of doctors in Bahrain
To the Editor: During the months of February and March 2011, as part of the 'Arab Spring', protest action and demonstrations took place in Manama, capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain. When the authorities sought to put down the action, many protesters were injured and some died of their injuries. Those who were injured were admitted to Salmaniya Medical Complex, the main government hospital in Bahrain.
That 48 health care workers at the hospital, in keeping with the Hippocratic Oath, cared for the protesters as they would for any patient was sufficient cause for the arrest, imprisonment and torture of these workers.1 The group includes Dr Mahmood Asghar, a paediatric surgical colleague known to members of our Association.
After the health care workers had been imprisoned for 6 months without trial, a military court sentenced them to 15 years' imprisonment. Following an international outcry, this decision was set aside. Unfortunately these workers still face trial in a civilian court, and while awaiting trial are not able to return to work, or to leave the country.
The South African Association of Paediatric Surgeons wishes to express its abhorrence of the sanctioning by the government of Bahrain of these actions against our colleagues, and urges the South African Medical Association and medical colleagues around the world to add their voice in condemnation of these actions of the government of Bahrain.
SA Association of Paediatric Surgeons