Bahrain court puts off trial of medical staff

June 6, 2011

Bahrain’s National Safety Court of First Instance on Monday put off the trial of 47 medical staff to June 13.

The court charged a group of 20 staff with the forceful occupation of public property, possession of unlicenced weapons, calling for the toppling of the political regime and incitement to the hatred of a segment of the society.

The second group of 27 medical staff was charged with disseminating false information, incitement to the hatred of a segment of society, non-compliance with laws and regulations, disturbing public order and refusing to treat patients.

The arrest of the medical and paramedical staff has waded into international controversy. An international medical group said that the arrests were part of a campaign to target doctors for treating protesters.

However, Fatima Al Beloushi, the acting health minister, and Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, have repeatedly said that the legal action was taken against doctors for their involvement in criminal activities.

In a separate case, Ayat Guermezi will know her fate on June 12 after the lower court heard the pleadings of the public prosecutor who called for a heavy sentence and the defence lawyer who pleaded for an acquittal. Ayat, the first woman to go on trial following political unrest, on charges of inciting hatred of the regime and of being involved in a rally to commit crimes on Thursday pleaded not-guilty.

Her case drew international attention in March following reports that she had been “raped and killed”. The reports claimed that “doctors confirmed that Ayat had gone into coma after being raped for several times”. Eventually, the physicians’ efforts failed to save Ayat’s life and she died at the army hospital,” the reports, coming mainly from Iran and relayed by various blogs, said. Ayat was hailed as a martyr in Tehran and her name was given to a boat Iranians planned to send to Bahrain allegedly to help the local population. The vessel never reached Bahrain. Manama accused Tehran of meddling in its domestic affairs.



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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