Bma Condemns The Abduction Of Bahraini Doctors

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The British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday condemned as ‘unacceptable’ the terrorising and detention of doctors in Bahrain by the feudal regime that is armed and supported by the UK.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of Council at the BMA said: ‘It is completely unacceptable that medical professionals who are carrying out their professional and humanitarian duties should be treated in this way.

‘We will be using every avenue possible to put pressure on the Bahrain government to cease this persecution of medical personnel, immediately.’

Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage after it was revealed that at least 32 doctors have been arrested and detained by Bahrain police in the last month in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict.

Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained.

The repression of medics was revealed in emails between a Bahraini surgeon and a British colleague.

Bahraini government forces backed by Saudi Arabian troops have cracked down hard on democracy demonstrators and the trade unions since pro-democracy protests began on February 15. Large numbers of people have been killed or wounded.

The author of the emails, a senior surgeon at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, was taken in for questioning at the interior ministry HQ in Manama.

He has not re-emerged.

No reason has been given for his arrest, nor has there been any news of his condition.

Shortly before being detained, he wrote: ‘Interrogation committees question me about our role in treating the injured protesters, who are considered now criminal for protesting against the government.

‘I don’t have good feeling about things going on in Bahrain. So many of our consultant surgeon and physician colleagues been arrested at pre-dawn raids and disappear.’

On February 17, at the start of the demonstrations, he wrote: ‘It has been a long day in the theatre with massively injured patients equivalent to a massacre.’

In mid-March, he wrote: ‘Right now I am in the hospital exhausted and overwhelmed by numbers of youth and lethally injured casualties, it’s genocide to our people and our hospital doctors and nurses are targeted for helping patients by pro-government militia, so many doctors and nurses been physically attacked for just attending injured one. ambulances smashed or targeted by military.’

There followed a long silence before he wrote again: ‘Three weeks of hell. The military took control of the Salmaniya Hospital, doctors, nurses, paramedics and patients treated as suspects by soldiers and policemen. Daily interrogation and detention to some of our colleges. . . . Very much intimidated and frightened.’

The ITUC trade union federation commented: ‘The authorities in Bahrain have launched an all-out attack on the Bahraini trade union movement. Thousands of workers have been dismissed for taking part in trade union activities in support of the peaceful calls for greater democracy and reform.

‘Many of the Executive members of the General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions have been dismissed from their jobs, as have many local trade union leaders.

‘The people of Bahrain are living in a state of fear of further killings and other violence, arbitrary detention, and loss of their livelihoods.

‘Bahrain is sliding into absolute dictatorship, and the elimination of trade union activity is being given a high priority by those in the ruling circles who intend to complete the transformation of the country into a totalitarian state.’

The UK government remains in complete support of the feudal dictatorship.