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The Government should stop targeting and harassing human rights defender Dr. Nada Dhaif and her family

2011-12-31

Beirut, 31 December, 2011 --- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights would like to express in the strongest possible terms its profound concern following the interrogation, at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), of Human Rights Defender Dr. Nada Dhaif, spokesperson of the Doctors and Medics Group in Bahrain, who have been prosecuted for carrying out their duties toward wounded protesters during peaceful demonstrations.

On the 25th of December 2011, Dr. Nada Dhaif received a telephone call from the CID requesting her to appear before the Economic Crimes Section the following day. On the 26th of December 2011, Dr. Nada Dhaif attended an aggressive interrogation that lasted four hours during which she was verbally intimidated and ordered to keep a low profile. In addition, she was informed during the interrogation that the Public Prosecutor Office has filed this complaint against her. Another member of her family had earlier been called for interrogation.

On the 29th of September 2011 the National Safety Court -a Military Court – issued verdicts that include 5, 10, and 15 year prison sentences against 20 Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics working for the State Health Sector in Bahrain. Dr. Nada Dhaif, herself has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The case has since been transferred to the Upper Court of Criminal Appeals.

“Dr. Nada Dhaif who always acts according to the ethics of her noble profession, has already been imprisoned, tortured, forced to give false confessions, and is still facing a trial on false charges” said Khalid Ibrahim, the deputy director of Gulf Centre for Human Rights. He added that “the whole world knows the excellent integrity of Dr. Nada Dhaif and authorities in Bahrain need to immediately stop targeting and harassing her.”

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights believes that Human Rights Defender Dr. Nada Dhaif is targeted and harassed because of her legitimate Human Rights activities and also due to the fact that she is an outspoken advocate for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain.

The Gulf Centre for Human rights Calls on the authorities in Bahrain to:
1. Immediately Stop targeting and harassing Human Rights defender Dr. Nada Dhaif and her family. The Government of Bahrain has a responsibility to meet its international obligations to protect Human Rights Defenders in Bahrain.
2. Drop all the charges against Dr. Nada Dhaif and all of the other medical staff.
3. Disable all arbitrary measures taken against them and their families and compensate them for all damages they have endured.

For more information, please contact:

Bahrain:  Nabeel Rajab (Arabic and English)                        +973-396-333-99

Lebanon: Khalid Ibrahim (Arabic and English)                     +961-701-595-52

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.