Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Statement

14 June 2012

RCSI urges release for those sentenced to jail in Bahrain 

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) welcomes the release of a number of healthcare professionals at a Bahrain court earlier today. However, the College very much regrets the decision of the Bahraini Court to sentence a number of medical personnel to terms in prison. RCSI urges the Bahraini government to show humanity and to withdraw these sentences and to free those medics who have been or are about to be imprisoned.

In seeking withdrawal of the sentences RCSI points to the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report which found that in many cases those arrested following the demonstrations of 2011 had been subjected to ill treatment or torture. In such circumstances RCSI contends that no sentence can be fairly or safely upheld and that all charges should therefore be dropped.

RCSI has previously written to the King of Bahrain asking him to drop all outstanding charges. Today we again ask the King to release those medics who have been sentenced or imprisoned.

Earlier this year we wrote to BICI pointing out that the medical profession in Bahrain had become polarized. We suggested that to rebuild trust a number of things were required to happen. Firstly, that outstanding charges against the healthcare professionals should be dropped. We indicated that these charges are a major obstacle to progress and serve only to fuel hostility and division. This continues to be our view.
We believe that the future for Bahrain has to be one of dialogue and reconciliation. Our own Irish story tells how this takes time.

RCSI strongly supports the recommendation for the development of a national reconciliation programme. RCSI has offered to assist in every possible way to advance the building of reconciliation and mutual understanding among healthcare professionals in Bahrain.

We support the BICI recommendation which seeks the development of programmes at primary, secondary and university levels to promote the religious, political and other forms of tolerance, as well as to promote human rights and the rule of law.

We are determined to contribute to the future of Bahrain by providing high quality medical and nursing education in a non-sectarian environment to our more than 1,000 students. We will help them to reach their potential and so as to maximize future opportunities, irrespective of their background.

We will continue to advance our strong conviction that the sentences should be withdrawn.