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Medical News & Perspectives
August 3, 2011

Human Rights Report Details Violence Against Health Care Workers in Bahrain

JAMA. 2011;306(5):475-476. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1091

When antigovernment protesters marched in February and March of this year on the streets of Manama, the capital of Bahrain, peacefully calling for political and economic reforms, a brutal response by the country's security services followed.

The majority of the injured and dead were brought to Salmaniya Hospital in Manama. Rather than being a safe haven for the wounded, however, this facility, the largest modern medical facility in the country, was declared by the government to be a stronghold of opposition protesters. Security forces occupied the building. According to human rights organizations such as Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), patients were beaten and abused. Physicians, nurses, and other health care workers who treated the civilian protesters were systematically abducted, detained, and interrogated, and many now are facing trial for allegedly using the hospital as a base to try to overthrow the royal government.