Bahrain medics detained for aiding man after anti-government protest
26 March 2010
Amnesty International has called on the Bahraini authorities to account for the arrest and brief detention of two medical workers, apparently for helping a man who had been wounded during an anti-government protest this month.
Ibrahim al-Dumistani and 'Abdel-'Aziz Nasheeb, who work at al-Salmaniya hospital in Manama, were arrested after they helped Hussain 'Ali Hassan al-Sahlawi, who had been shot and left unconscious by a Bahraini security official in Karzakan on the evening of 14 March.
Both men were detained at a police station in Hamad until Sunday, when they were released on bail on charges of "cover up" and "abusing their medical profession".
Hussain 'Ali Hassan al-Sahlawi is reported to still be receiving treatment for his injuries. Under constant police guard, he is said to have been charged with participating in an illegal protest. He has been allowed access to his family and a lawyer.
According to media reports, the Health Ministry evicted members of the Bahrain Nursing Society (BNS) from their premises on Monday, to stop them from holding a party to celebrate the release of Ibrahim al-Dumistani, who is also the BNS secretary general.
In a letter to Bahrain's Minister of Interior on Tuesday, Amnesty International requested clarification regarding any steps taken by the authorities to investigate the circumstances in which Hussain 'Ali Hassan al-Sahlawi was shot in the view of reports that he was unarmed and posing no threat to the security official who fired a shotgun at him.
The organization also request clarification regarding the current legal status of Ibrahim al-Dumistani and 'Abdel-'Aziz al-Nasheeb and the grounds on which they are facing prosecution for providing medical treatment to an injured man.
The shooting of Hussain 'Ali Hassan al-Sahlawi happened only minutes after scores of demonstrators in Karzakan had been burning tyres in protest against the government. The protests were timed to take advantage of the international spotlight on Bahrain while it was hosting the Formula One Grand Prix motor race of 2010.
These and other protests which have taken place recently in predominantly-Shi'a villages are part of an on-going movement led by radical Shi'a groups against what they believe is government discrimination against the Shi'a majority population.
Bahraini security forces are said to have been deployed in response to the protest and to have begun a search for demonstrators after they ran away and sought refuge in local houses.
According to reports received by Amnesty International, Hussain 'Ali Hassan al-Sahlawi had not taken part in the protest and was shot as he was getting into his car outside his grandfather's house.