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Irish nurses and midwives join vigil for Bahrain medics

The members of the INMO have joined a vigil to highlight the trial of health professionals in Bahrain, and are calling for the release of their fellow professionals.

A Bahraini pro-democracy protester gestures in front of a wall sprayed with anti-government graffiti
A Bahraini pro-democracy protester gestures in front of a wall sprayed with anti-government graffiti
Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

IRISH NURSES AND midwives are joining a vigil today to highlight what they term the “injustice” being done against 20 health professionals on trial in Bahrain.

The vigil will bring participants to the Dáil in an effort to call for all charges against a number of health professionals in Bahrain to be dropped, as well as urging for an independent investigation into allegations of torture.

There are 20 health professionals currently on trial in Bahrain after being charged with ‘anti-state activity’ for providing care to wounded civilians.

The INMO said today:

Many in the group of these health professionals, like Hassan Matoq, emergency nurse and Ahmed Mahdi, psychiatric nurse, are still in prison and have been held for more than a year.

Many allege that they were tortured in detention, including our colleagues, the President of the Bahrain Nursing Society, Rula Al-Saffar and her executive secretary, Mr Ebrahim Aldemestani, who were detained for six months and now have a five year prison sentence hanging over them.

INMO outgoing President Sheila Dickson added: “We must continue to highlight this injustice and the Irish government must continue to raise this, through diplomatic channels, seeking the release of our fellow professionals”.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) Code of Ethics states that: “Nurses have a right to practice in an environment that provides personal safety, freedom from abuse and violence, threats or intimidations” and the INMO is seeking that this right is upheld in Bahrain and across the globe.

The INMO said the approach of Bahrain’s authorities on this issue “is wholly unacceptable” and called for the health professionals to be released immediately.

In April, an Amnesty International report said that the country’s government is continuing to perpetrate human rights abuses against citizens.

The medics were arrested during the anti-government demonstrations in February 2011. They were initially tried and convicted in September of that year of incitement to overthrow the ruling system, and all received prison sentences.

The medics rejected claims they had incited or assisted the uprising.  A report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Enquiry ruled that the allegations the accused had supplied protesters with weapons were without foundation, and a retrial took place in November 2011.

The verdict in the trial is due on Thursday.

Read: Bahraini hunger striker granted retrial>

Read: Torture and other human rights abuses continuing in Bahrain – Amnesty report>

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