Bahraini authorities released medic Rula Al-Saffar on August 21 following five months of arbitrary detention. Her release comes shortly after her three-week hunger striketo protest her arbitrary arrest and subsequent torture while in detention atthe hands of Bahraini authorities.
Rula Al-Saffar was head of the Bahrain Nursing Societyand AssistantProfessor at the College of Health Sciences. A cancer survivor,Mrs. Al-Saffar also served as an Executive Board Member of the Bahrain Cancer Societyand founder of the National Association for Cancer Awareness.
While the release of Al-Saffar isencouraging, authorities have not dismissed the charges against her. On 28 AugustAl-Saffar must appear before military court alongside at least 19 other medical workers whoface seemingly trumped-up charges of having treated injured pro-democracyprotesters in March.
PHRis also alarmed that contrary to earlier statements guaranteeing civiliantrials, pro-democracy activists will now be tried in a military court.Al-Saffar, pro-democracy activists and all other political prisoners must beguaranteed fair trials in civilian courts.
Physicians for Human Rights renews its callfor the unconditional releaseof all detained medicsand the dismissal ofall charges against those released. PHR calls on the Bassiouni commission of inquiryto conduct medical and psychological evaluations of all persons who havealleged torture by Bahrainauthorities.