UN raises concern over the jailing of doctors in Bahrain

Bahrain protests

Bahrain has been criticized for jailing medical staff on grounds that they treated civilians injured in anti government protests.

The UN Human Rights Office says the trials and the harsh sentences handed down to the doctors and 34 other civilians were beset by irregularities.

The sentences which have been handed down by the Bahrain Court of National Safety range from three years imprisonment to the death penalty.

Rupert Colville from the UN Human Rights Office says the trials raise serious concerns as they were conducted in a military court and the accused had limited access to lawyers.

 "One defence lawyer representing a number of medical professionals told reporters that the trails lasted no longer than 10 minutes, the charges have varied from illegal gatherings or expressing hatred of government to murder and destruction of property. We call on the Government to ensure that every detained person is charged with a recognizable criminal offence and has enough time to prepare a defence case. The Government has announced that all cases will be referred to civilian courts in October and that includes these convictions and we welcome this announcement, but it is unclear how appeals by those who have been convicted in military courts will be handled in the civilian courts."

Duration 41″

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