INMO Calls For Release And Clemency For Bahraini Health Professionals

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is appalled at the news that the Bahraini Government, through a military court, has determined prison sentences, ranging from five to 15 years, for 20 health professionals including nurses and doctors.

These health professionals, whose only act was to tender the wounded regardless of whom they were representing, have also been subject to arbitrary arrest, torture, isolation and confinement in very poor physical surroundings.

It is now imperative that the Irish Government, through every diplomatic channel open to it, initiates immediate pressure upon the Bahraini authorities to reverse this decision, grant immediate clemency and allow these dedicated health professionals resume their work of caring for the sick and injured regardless of their ethnic or other origin. We have also written to Mr. Eamon Gilmore TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, asking him to act on this matter immediately.

In addition the INMO has written to the Bahraini Government, through their Embassy in London, asking for the King of Bahrain to immediately intervene to stop this grievous wrong, free these health professionals and restore some credibility to the Bahraini authorities in the wider world.

In a nursing context one of those found guilty, and given a prison sentence of 15 years, is Rula Al Saffir who is Head of the Bahraini Nursing Society. This is a deplorable, dictatorial act of government which cannot go unchallenged.

Speaking this morning INMO President Sheila Dickson said:

“There is no justification whatsoever for the recent treatment of, and now prison sentences handed down to, these 20 nurses, doctors and paramedics.  The Irish Government, the European Union, and indeed the United Nations, if  they are to have any moral authority, must mobilise immediately, and collectively, right this wrong.  They must seek the freedom, and pardon, for these dedicated health professionals who simply cared for those in need without any regard for their own health and wellbeing.”

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