Bahrain releases 312 detainees

April 27, 2011

Bahrain has released 312 people it had detained since the launch of a security operation following weeks of protests and political turmoil.

“I wish to announce that 312 detainees, including sick people, have been released either for health consideration or after they spent time in detention,” Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the president of the information affairs authority, said. “Several people were detained after the declaration of the state of national safety on March 15 for their implication in security related violations. There were 62 arrested for misdemeanours and 343 for felonies,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Shaikh Fawaz, who was given the media portfolio in July, said that Bahrain was well ahead in recovering its full security and stability.

“The public order forces did a good job, and we were pained when two of them were targeted. One cameraman working for Bahrain TV was lucky to escape the attempt on his life, but the others were not. We also deplore the death of two motorists who refused to comply with security measures, raised alert levels by not lowering their speed as they approached the checkpoints and were killed,” he said.

The military court is scheduled to announce on Thursday its verdict in the case of seven defendants who were tried on charges of killing the policemen. The military prosecutor earlier this week sought the death penalty for the seven defendants while their lawyers pushed for their acquittal.

Shaikh Fawaz said that 23 doctors and 23 medical staff had been arrested and were being investigated for their alleged role in the Salmaniya Medical Complex, the largest hospital in the country.

The authorities said that the medical and paramedical staff engaged in activities that caused deep rifts within the society, fuelled sectarianism and politicized medical services.

The doctors, however, say that they had deployed extraordinary efforts to rescue and treat protestors who were injured during the demonstrations.

On Tuesday, the health ministry said that it had transferred the case of 30 medical staff to the prosecution for legal investigation. At the same time, the ministry said that it ordered the reinstatement of 10 staff, including nine doctors, for lack of proof of an alleged involvement in “terror” activities.

At the parliament, the speaker of the lower chamber called for the amendment of the political societies law to ensure that at least 100 people sign up for the founding of a political society.

“The 100 must be from the five governorates of Bahrain, with at least 10 in each governorate,” Khalifa Al Dhahrani said.

Under the current law, a society needs 50 signatories to be officially registered.

“Each of the existing society must rectify its status within three months to be allowed to continue its work,” said the veteran parliamentarian who has been speaker of the lower chamber since 2002 when elections were held after a three-decade constitutional hiatus.

The proposal will likely affect most of the 18 official societies that have strong presence in some governorates, but almost no visibility in others.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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