Bahrain tries more medics accused in protests

June 28, 2011

MANAMA -- A mass trial in Bahrain got under way on Monday for 28 doctors and nurses charged in the crackdown on pro-democracy protests calling for greater rights.

The criminal court trial comes just four days before Bahrain's Al Khalifa rulers seek to open talks with opposition groups in the Persian Gulf island kingdom, AP reported.
The main opposition leaders say authorities must end the protest-linked ‘show trials’ and release detainees before serious dialogue can begin.
The medical personnel are accused of joining the protests that began in February and spreading false information, seen as a reference to speaking to foreign media.
A separate trial began earlier this month for 20 doctors and nurses accused of alleged anti-state plots.
Human Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, have said they believe Bahrain is actively targeting medical professionals for treating protesters at Salmaniya, which was taken over by security forces during the protest.
On June 22, a special security court in Bahrain sentenced eight prominent activists and opposition leaders to life in prison on charges of “plotting to overthrow the government” during demonstrations in Bahrain.
Senior Bahraini cleric Sheikh Issa Qasim censured Bahraini government over the life sentences.
“We are all feeling pain, suffering and a sense of depression from the sentencing,” the cleric said in a sermon on Friday.
Despite the lifting of an emergency law, the Manama regime continues to try civilians in its so-called special courts, as part of the government's crackdown on peaceful popular protests.
In March, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed military forces to Bahrain to help the government crush the nationwide protests.
Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the Saudi-backed crackdown on the protests in Bahrain since mid-February.