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Freedom House Welcomes Prosecution of Police Who Tortured Doctors in Bahrain
Freedom House welcomes the decision by Bahrain’s chief prosecutor to charge police officers with torturing a group of doctors arrested during anti-government protests earlier last year. The move is a good first step but must be followed up with the immediate prosecution of all law enforcement officials who have resorted to illegal means to curb dissent, including torture and arbitrary arrests.
15 doctors at the Salmaniya hospital in Manama who were detained by authorities last February for allegedly backing the opposition brought mistreatment charges against 15 police officers.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), appointed by King Hamad to investigate and report on the uprising of February and March 2011, found that torture had been used against political prisoners in a systematic way. Freedom House echoes BICI recommendations 1246 and 1247 which stress that all allegations of torture be investigated by an impartial body and that punishment remain consistent with the gravity of the offense. According to several human rights groups, torture is continuing.
Bahrain is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom of the Press 2012 and Freedom on the Net 2011. Bahraini authorities have committed widespread human rights abuses, and systematically used torture against detainees since protests began in February 2011.