Tánaiste urges clemency for Medical Professionals convicted in Bahrain
Commenting on the verdicts announced on 14 June in the re-trial of eighteen medical professionals in Bahrain who had been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences last September, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has said:
“I am very concerned at the prison sentences which have now been confirmed for a number of medical professionals in Bahrain, arising from events which took place in the Salmaniya Medical Complex in March 2011 at a time of widespread popular unrest and disturbance in Bahrain. Among those sentenced is Dr. Ali al-Ekri who trained at the RCSI Dublin and has now received a five-year prison sentence.
The case of the Bahrain medics has attracted much international attention and concern since the original sentences were handed down last September. This is not least because of the findings of the Bahrain International Commission of Inquiry last November that a number of the medical professionals concerned had been tortured and ill-treated in custody.
I have already publicly expressed my concerns about this case on a number of occasions. These concerns have been formally communicated to the Bahraini authorities through diplomatic channels. I welcome the fact that nine of the medical professionals originally sentenced have now been acquitted and that only a small number of the remaining nine whose sentences were upheld are likely to serve out their jail sentences.
Given the great concerns and doubts which have surrounded this case from the start, and in the wider interests of promoting urgently needed reconciliation within Bahrain, I urge the Bahraini authorities to consider extending clemency to those whose sentences have now been upheld.
I also understand that those now sentenced retain a right of further appeal to the Court of Cassation in Bahrain. I hope that any such appeals will be speedily expedited and that the individuals in question will not be re-arrested pending the outcome of their appeals.”