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Ear to the Ground

Terror Rules at Bahrain’s Hospitals

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Posted on May 22, 2012
Al Jazeera English (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The exterior of Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama.

Bahrain’s hospitals are becoming centers of terror and distrust as government officials use them to identify, torture and arrest protesters, doctors and nurses for their involvement in the ongoing uprising against the ruling Al Khalifa family.

Rather than risk capture by the authorities, many injured protesters are seeking treatment at ill-equipped, makeshift medical facilities at houses scattered throughout the country. Activists say the widespread reluctance to use professional hospitals has likely contributed to several deaths.

People arriving at the primary public hospital in the capital of Manama are regularly intercepted and questioned by guards seeking to identify members of the opposition. —ARK

The New York Times:

For the injured protesters, the houses have replaced the country’s largest public hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Complex, which has been a crucial site in the conflict between Bahrain’s ruling monarchy and its opponents since the beginning of a popular uprising in February 2011. Activists say that because of a heavy security presence at the hospital, protesters — or people fearful of being associated with Bahrain’s opposition — have been afraid to venture there for more than a year. That reluctance, officials and activists say, may be responsible for several deaths.

Last spring, the hospital became a symbol of the state’s repression, as the government arrested — and in some cases tortured — protesters, doctors and nurses for their involvement with the uprising. As its problems persist, Salmaniya has come to represent Bahrain’s dangerous impasse, marked by a growing rift between the country’s Shiite majority, which has long complained of official discrimination, and the Sunni political elite.

The authorities continue to prosecute Shiite doctors who worked at the hospital on charges including plotting to overthrow the government. Some of the doctors say their arrests represented a purge of Shiites, allowing the government to replace them with Sunni loyalists.

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americanme's avatar

By americanme, May 23, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Bullshit, shill for the Khalifas!

They are upping the ante on violence because they have made a deal with the Saudis—Sunnite to Sunnite—to meld Bahrain into Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis blasted across the bridge last year to put their guns thumbs on the Shiite protests, and this deal began moving through the gears.

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By ahmedcfb, May 23, 2012 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

This article fails to make a simple distinction: Most of the larger protests have actually been granted a Government license and so someone cannot be criminalized for attendance, particularly when the King of Bahrain has been so categorical about rights to peaceful freedom of expression and his clear instruction to ensure that no-one was jailed on this basis, including people who had directly insulted the King.

The kind of protests featured in the above article are the smaller, mostly violent and illegal protests where rioters go armed with armfuls of firebombs and makeshift weapons and seek to injure and kill the police.

It may sound harsh, but those who have been injured in such violent confrontations deserve to be investigated through the civilian justice system. If at the end of the day there is no proof that they were any more than innocent bystanders then they should be found innocent and released. But I hope that people reading this will agree that those seeking to injure, kill and destroy property are criminals and deserve to be treated like criminals. So it is no surprise that individuals are behaving like criminals in getting their wounds dressed in safe houses where they can avoid justice.

For those who are skeptical about what I have written here, I’d suggest that you look at the propaganda material produced by elements of the protest movement themselves, proudly showing off attacks against the security forces, ambushes against policemen and destruction of Bahrain’s infrastructure. There are thousands of such videos online, but here are just a couple where the images speak for themselves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVUtMDgAaGM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k0F9qYDhcV8

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By Ahmad - Citizens for Bahrain, May 23, 2012 at 3:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article fails to make a simple distinction: Most of the larger protests have actually been granted a Government license and so someone cannot be criminalized for attendance, particularly when the King of Bahrain has been so categorical about rights to peaceful freedom of expression and his clear instruction to ensure that no-one was jailed on this basis, including people who had directly insulted the King.

The kind of protests featured in the above article are the smaller, mostly violent and illegal protests where rioters go armed with armfuls of firebombs and makeshift weapons and seek to injure and kill the police.

It may sound harsh, but those who have been injured in such violent confrontations deserve to be investigated through the civilian justice system. If at the end of the day there is no proof that they were any more than innocent bystanders then they should be found innocent and released. But I hope that people reading this will agree that those seeking to injure, kill and destroy property are criminals and deserve to be treated like criminals. So it is no surprise that individuals are behaving like criminals in getting their wounds dressed in safe houses where they can avoid justice.

For those who are skeptical about what I have written here, I’d suggest that you look at the propaganda material produced by elements of the protest movement themselves, proudly showing off attacks against the security forces, ambushes against policemen and destruction of Bahrain’s infrastructure. There are thousands of such videos online, but here are just a couple where the images speak for themselves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVUtMDgAaGM

http://www.youtube.com/watc
h?feature=player_embedded&v=k0F9qYDhcV8

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, May 23, 2012 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

These are the guys who are allowing us to use their country as a base to scare those bad Iranians.

I see the U.S. moral compass is as f***ed up as it ever was.

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By gerard, May 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

One of the most miserable of miserable stories. Part of the price of not having worked for world peace everywhere, at every level, for the last 50 years or more. Attempts have been made—sort of—but sadly more or less insincere and confined to aggrandizing nationalisms of all odors. Beginnings have been made, then deserted or undermined. The ability to communicate worldwide and instantly is another beginning.

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