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Bahrain doctors jailed for treating injured peaceful protesters

bahrain shia docterA Bahrain appeals court has sentenced nine medics accused of aiding Bahrain’s anti-discrimination uprising to jail terms while setting free another nine.
Bahrain’s appeals court acquitted nine medics and convicted nine others on Thursday while also reducing the latter’s sentences.

The medics, who are all Shiite Muslims, had been convicted for their involvement in pro-democracy protests in February and March 2011 in which they treated injured protesters.

The court upheld 15-year sentences against two doctors who fled Bahrain.

The sentences ranging from five years to one month brought sharp complaints from international rights groups.

Senior orthopedic surgeon, Ali al-Ekry, had his sentenced reduced to five years, another’s term was reduced to three years, and the rest were decreased to a year.

The medical teams deny the charges and accuse state security forces of abuses such as turning wards into makeshift detention sites for suspected protesters. They also alleged they suffered beatings and other torture while in custody.

“We’re very disappointed,” said defence lawyer Jalila al-Sayed. “We expected the court to clear everyone.”

The incarceration of the medics drew widespread international condemnation, which became particularly intense as reports emerged that most of them had been tortured while in custody.


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