Amnesty International has launched a petition, calling for the immediate release of a Bahraini activist doctor currently in prison for denouncing Manama’s response to 2011 anti-government protests.
In its petition, the rights group urged the unconditional release of Ali al-Ekri, a consultant surgeon, who is currently serving a five-year sentence under inhumane circumstances for peacefully exercising his rights to “freedom of expression and assembly.”
Amnesty says Ekri is a prisoner of conscience as he was arrested for his “vocal denunciation of the excessive force used by the armed forces against peaceful protesters during February-March 2011 protests to the international media.”
He was arrested while working in an operation room at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on March 17, 2011.
According to a testimony released in October 2011, the Bahraini surgeon said that he had been subjected to physical torture, including beating, kicking, sleep deprivation and sexual abuse.
“I was threatened with police dogs being brought to my cell and they made me imitate the barking of dogs, they made me lick the floor, the soles of their boots,” Ekri had said.
Ekri also said he had been forced to “confess to possession of weapons, heading a militia, and occupying the hospital.”
The rights group further called on Bahraini authorities to investigate Ekri’s claims of torture and ill treatment while in detention and to bring those responsible to justice.
Ekri is among the 48 paramedics, nurses, and doctors detained by armed forces during the uprising for alleged involvement in protests.
This comes as Bahraini activists slammed Manama’s eight-year delay in the release of a report on the Al Khalifa regime’s fight against human rights violations and torture, as unacceptable.
Activists say Bahrain’s report on torture and human rights violation, which was handed over to the United Nations Committee Against Torture last month, lacks credibility.
Bahrain has been witnessing anti-regime protests since 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power. The protests have been met with a harsh crackdown by armed forces, which has left tens of people dead and many others imprisoned.