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Govt urged to take action over jailed Bahraini doctors who trained in Ireland

A number of doctors who trained at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin had their sentences reduced in Bahrain today but they remain behind bars.

Dr Ali Al Akri pictured today after hearing news of his sentence being cut.
Dr Ali Al Akri pictured today after hearing news of his sentence being cut.
Image: Hasan Jamali/AP/Press Association Images

SINN FÉIN HAS urged the Irish government to publicly call for the sentences handed down to nine Bahraini doctors, some of whom trained in Ireland, to be dropped.

An appeal court in Bahrain today acquitted nine medics and cut the jail terms of nine others for their role in anti-regime protests last year.

The case, which has prompted widespread criticism from human rights groups, saw medics handed jail sentences of between five and 15 years by a semi-military tribunal last September having faced a number of charges including possession of weapons and denial of treatment to Sunni Muslims.

In one case Dr Ali Al Akri, an orthopaedic surgeon who trained at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) in Dublin, was abducted from the operating room at Salmaniya Hospital and reportedly imprisoned and tortured.

His sentence was today cut from 15-years to five years. Eight others, including Irish-trained doctor Bassam Dhaif were given sentences ranging from a month to three years.

The RSCI has expressed its concern at the developments and urged the Bahraini government to release all the medics in light of claims that they were torture

But Sinn Féin’s foreign affairs spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn said that more needs to be done.

“The RCSI needs to do more than express ‘deep concern’ now. The situation has moved well beyond sympathetic noise,” he said.

“Accountability must come first.  Irish-trained doctors are being imprisoned in Bahrain for speaking out against a regime which punishes those who call for the respect of human rights.

“The Tánaiste now needs to call for all sentences to be dropped. All violations of humans rights, kidnapping and mistreatment especially torture need to be investigated as do those who were directly involved. And finally, all medics should be reinstated to their jobs and fairly compensated.”

Read: Bahrain medics jailed over Arab Spring protests acquitted, sentences reduced

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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