Bahraini health workers to be retried before a civilian court

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6547 (Published 12 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6547
  1. Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities1,
  2. Eleanor Chrispin, senior ethics adviser2
  1. 1BMA, BMA House, London WC1H 9JO, UK
  2. 2BMA Ethics Department, BMA
  1. vnathanson{at}bma.org.uk

Bahraini authorities must now show that defendants are given a fair trial

News that the 20 Bahraini health workers who were sentenced on 29 September to up to 15 years imprisonment for “attempting to topple the government” will be given a retrial before a civilian court was initially met with enthusiasm.1 However, subsequent statements from the lawyers of the accused indicate that the announcement of a “retrial” may have been more of a political move, aimed at appeasing international concerns rather than initiating substantive new legal proceedings.2 Such a move is perhaps not so surprising, given how sensitive to international opinion the authorities in Bahrain have been over recent months.

Repeated assurances from the Bahraini government had led many, including the BMA,3 to hope that Bahrain would use the final stage of this particular trial to show some …

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