Bahrain: Medical Staff Released After Hunger Strike

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

Bahrain yesterday released doctors and medical personnel who have been behind bars since March 2011, after increased international condemnation and a series of hunger strikes by supporters inside and outside the country. The medical staff, who treated injured protesters during Bahrain's revolution and spoke to the media about the horrors they witnessed among the dead and injured, found themselves behind bars accused of killing protesters and hiding arms inside hospital wards.

Avatar used on Twitter to support detained Bahraini doctors

Avatar used on Twitter to support detained Bahraini doctors

The outcry from the international community for the release of the doctors continued to snowball, as the doctors and medical personnel continued to stand trial in a military court. Over the past 24 hours, Irish doctors went on a hunger strike to show solidarity with their fellow Bahraini imprisoned doctors who have been on hunger strike for over seven days.

Professor Damien McCormack was the one to propose the idea and a video has been posted by “Front Line defenders” where he explains their intentions of this fast.

News has also been circulating about Australian doctors and Bahraini medical doctors in Australia staging a hunger strike in front of the American Embassy in Sydney to demand their release. This news was all featured on Twitter under the hashtag #HungerStrike, which was generated to become an open invitation for everyone to go on hunger strike in support of the detained doctors. Last night, the good news came from the Bahraini court which decided to release Bahraini doctors, without dropping the charges against them. They go on trial again on September 26, 2011.

One of the first people to start the hunger strike and announce it online was Fatima H.Tublani (@FatimaTublani) the daughter of detained doctor Hassan Tublani, when she tweeted five days ago that she will be going on a hunger strike:

@FatimaTublani: I am Fatima daughter of Dr.Hassan Tublani and i will be in a #Hungerstrike startimg 2morrow supporting my father and the rest of the Docs.

Bahraini tweep Hussain Mah (@HussainMah) expressed his disgust of how doctors are treated in Bahrain saying:

@HussainMah: Just in #Bahrain: Doctors are trails in military courts cuz they treat patients!! shame on this US ally regime!

Another Bahraini tweep (@ProudBahraini11) went on hunger strike before stopping yesterday:

@ProudBahraini11: Broke my #Hungerstrike, wasn't easy but it was needed!! Wishing the best for those who r continuing it.

A group of Bahraini youth on social networks called (@Bahrain_Rev) has tweeted a video showing a group of men and women standing in silence to demand the release of Bahraini doctors, and then have been attacked by security forces:

@Bahrain_Rev: video of attacking the sit-in supporting detainees n #hungerStrike & medics near #Bahrain mall 5sep

The same group has also posted on their Facebook page the following picture of the Irish doctors who went on hunger strike:

Irish Doctors went on hunger strike demanding the release of their fellow deatined doctors in Bahrain

Irish Doctors went on hunger strike demanding the release of their fellow deatined doctors in Bahrain

The Twitter account demanding the release of Dr. Maitham AlSalman (@FreeMaitham) had a different point of view opposing the hunger strike:

@FreeMaitham: Children and family on #hungerstrike please … your family need your strength so there is nothing to be gained by continuing the strike.

And a female tweep from the UAE (@emiratiandproud) described the hunger strike as “immature” in her tweet:

@emiratiandproud: #hungerstrike is meaningless n it just shows how uneducated a person is. Its a very immature way of trying to get what u want I dont get it

Another tweep from Bahrain (@EmaK80) was not happy with releasing the doctors and wrote saying:

@EmaK80: So what doctors are freed, the case isn't closed! They lost our respect, their reputation and their patients.

Hassan Abdulla (@HassanAbdullaBH) found the hunger strike as a way of peaceful protest:

@HassanAbdullaBH: To everyone that said #Hungerstrike would do nothing; I say this is just the beginning of peaceful protest outcomes.

Bahraini activist Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) and daughter of detained opposition figure Abdulhadi Alkhawja has been tweeting updates of the hunger strike and she wrote a tweet today about the release of doctors saying:

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: release of #bahrain docs came after bahraini's & internationals joined #hungerstrike in solidarity, international pressure goes a long way!

Bahraini student Mahdi Ali (@MahdiJAli) thought the hunger strike was useful and should go on until everyone is released:

@MahdiJAli: The #HungerStrike payed off. Now, even more of us shud go on #HungerStrike to pressure and lead to the release of more detainees.

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.


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