Wed Sep 14, 2011
More than a dozen Bahraini nurses and doctors have entered the second week of their hunger strike as the anti-regime protesters await trial in a martial court, a report says.
Irish-trained surgeons Ali al-Ekri and Bassin Dahif along with 11 other doctors, nurses and paramedics are on a hunger strike in a Bahraini prison, Prof. Damian McCormack, who heads an Irish delegation of doctors and human rights activists to Bahrain, wrote in a letter to the Irish Times.
Among the detained protesters, one is diabetic and seven have already collapsed and are in need of intravenous fluids while one has attempted suicide and been prescribed anti-psychotic medication; they all refuse to take their medication, according to the document.
McCormack, who is affiliated with the World College of Surgeons and the World College of Physicians, also referred to a chronic compartment syndrome in another detained surgeon, who is at risk of “deep clots and embolism.”
“All continue to suffer from the physical and psychological effects of prolonged detention and torture,” he stated, adding that one consultant ophthalmologist recently released had suffered a stroke in detention.
The Dublin-based pediatrician recalls a royal decree issued by Bahrain’s embattled King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in late June, which orders all protester cases referred to civilian courts.
“However, international human rights organizations are shocked to learn that the trial of the 20 medics who are accused with felonies will continue in a military court,’” the letter reads.
It further censured the continued brutal suppression of peaceful protests in Bahrain and the August 31 killing of teenage boy, struck by a tear gas canister at close range, on Eid al-Fitr.
McCormack accused the Bahraini regime of employing international lobbyists such as Jo Trippi and PR companies such as Qorvis in Washington and Bell Pottinger in London to conceal its continued violations of human rights.
He noted how Lualua TV, a Bahraini pro- democracy station based in London, is actively jammed from Bahrain via a European satellite and all internal electronic communications in Bahrain are monitored by “spy gear” provided by western companies such as Nokia Siemens.
“Over 1,400 protesters have been detained, 180 civilians have been sentenced in military courts, 32 people have been killed, over 60 journalists have been targeted or ejected and at least 22 opposition websites are censored in a country which would call itself civilized and peaceful,” McCormack went on to say.
The doctor further called on the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to seek return of the honorary fellowship they awarded to King Hamad in 2006.