More than 1000 Global Physicians Demand Freedom for Bahraini Medics

Saturday 26th November – International Day of Action to support the medics

Location: Freedom Plaza to the Embassy of Bahrain.

Time: Meet in Freedom Plaza at 11:30 am or the UDC metro station at 12:00 pm for a march to the Embassy of Bahrain

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—November 26, 2011.  Over 1,000 medical workers from 30 different countries have signed a petition calling for an immediate dropping of all charges gainst the 20 Bahraini medics facing up to 15 years in jail.

On Monday, Nov. 28, the 20 will face a civilian court after international outrage forced the prosecution to backtrack on the original sentences. In what is a clear case of political ersecution, the medics face trial for treating injured protesters.

In an attempt to support the medics, physicians around the world will be handing the petition to different Bahrain embassies and consulates on Saturday 26th November.

The action has already been confirmed in London, Washington, Ottawa, Beirut and Cairo with others expected to be confirmed within the next 24 hours.

In United Kingdom, the British Health Trade Union, UNISON, has supported the petition and will representatives will be joining the team handing the petition to the Bahrain Embassy in London. They will meet with Bahraini Doctors who were working in Manama’s Salmaniya Hospital during the unrest in February and March.

There is hope that, given the recent report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry that openly criticized the Bahrain Governments crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, that the charges will be dropped.

However it remains to be seen as to whether the Government will indeed implement the recommendations made in the report.

Dr. Fatima Haji, one of the 20 Doctors being tried said:

“We have had these false charges hanging around our necks for the past few months and the emotional and physical stress we have gone through has caused so many problems. We have been unable to work, due to the charges, and we are living each day not knowing if it will be the last time we see our children and families for up to 15 years. We are pleased that the international pressure has led to our case being heard again, but we hope and pray that justice will be done and all the charges will be dropped. We are medics and all we want to do is help people regardless of their political, religious or any other belief. The international support we have received has been very warming and we hope that it will work to force the Government to drop these hurtful and untrue accusations.”

Karen Reissmann, a mental health nurse and national executive member of UNISON, said:

“This is a disgrace. The medics should all be released immediately with all charges dropped. All health staff has a duty to treat anyone who needs their care. They were simply doing their job.”

Dr. Margaret Flowers adds, “Medical providers who are treating people in times of war or protest have traditionally been exempted from arrest. However, recent trends such as the arrest of the medics in Bahrain and arrest of nurses caring for protesters in the occupations in the US are unethical and very disturbing. We must demand that this be stopped.”