Bahrain: Dr Ghassan Dhaif Tweets His Jail Experience

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

The plight of Bahraini medics, 20 of whom have been sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison on allegedly fabricated charges, is still gathering momentum, despite an announcement by the government to re-trial them in a civilian court.

Medical organizations abroad, especially those located in Ireland, have shown a lot of support and solidarity with the medics by awarding them for their courage and dedication and by taking part in a hunger strike a month ago to demand their release.

One of the interesting aspects in the medics’ case is that many of the targeted doctors have become active in social networks, tweeting their stories, about getting beaten, tortured, harassed, and insulted whether by the police or even some members of the Royal family.

Twitter avatar of Dr. Ghassan Dhaif between his wife Dr. Zahra Sammak and daughter and two sons

Twitter avatar of Dr. Ghassan Dhaif between his wife Dr. Zahra Sammak and daughter and two sons

In the following tweets, Dr Ghassan Dhaif (@ghassandhaif) tweets his story. He is a Senior Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at the Ministry of Health and was the first Bahraini maxillofacial surgeon in Bahrain, who started his practice in 1995.

He was sentenced to 15 years in jail while his wife Dr Zahra Sammak (@Zahrasammak) was sentenced to 5 years. Being a couple, their story gathered a lot of attention and sympathy especially when they told the world about the reaction of their children after the court's decision:

@ghassandhaif: My children asked me: Baba are you going to jail for 15 years and mama for 5 years after what you have done to save lives? I broke in tears

@ghassandhaif: My children told me: Baba we are proud of you and mama coz both of you loved people and people loved you. We will wait for both of you.

@ghassandhaif: My children: though mum and dad are going to prison, you won't be alone because the whole world is behind you. We both will rest on peace.

@ghassandhaif: My wife goes to jail for 5 years and my kids left lonely for no reason but helping people in need for medical aid. Not fair my country

The story of torture

A few days ago, Dr Nada Dhaif told The Times that she was tortured by Princess Nourah Al-Khalifa. She said she, among others, was threatened with rape.

Dr Ghassan tweeted his story of torture and how he too was also threatened that his wife and daughter would be raped:

@ghassandhaif: The amount of torture medics have experienced is beyond imagination. It showed the hate and revenge. All have permanent disabilities

@ghassandhaif: When i was examined by American doctor, she got shocked from hearing me tortured at Al Qala clinic by medical staff! I wonder is that fair?

@ghassandhaif: I was kept in a solitary confinement for 7 days, standing, deprived from sleep and toilet. I was tortured by hour by several people.

@ghassandhaif: I was intimidated and threatened of rape to my wife and daughter while i was supposedly receiving treatment at AlQala clinic.

@ghassandhaif: We were tortured in the ugliest ways to sign confessions for actions we haven't committed. The medics are innocent by all standards.

@ghassandhaif: I was Tortured by a female member of the royal family by repeated beatings and punch on my face until i fainted.

@ghassandhaif: I was knocked out by a lady who attacked me as i reached CID. I bled from mouth and nose. I wake up after she punched me on my chest.

Not a sectarian

When reading Dr Dhaif's tweets, one can see that he is not a politician and that all he was trying to do was be a medical doctor, practising in peace and without discrimination.

In the following tweets, he addresses the King, and condemns the sectarian charges against himself:

@ghassandhaif: HM The King, isn't it time for you to save the lives of innocent medics who helped the people and served their country!

@ghassandhaif: I was hurt deeply by being charged me for refusing to treat Sunni brothers. My practice is 70-75% Sunnis?!

@ghassandhaif: I was convected of sectarian discrimination. I treated 1000s of Sunnis and people from Royal family for over 20 years,Isn't it ridiculous

Testify for the truth

One of the irritating sides about the case of medics is the testimonies made by some of their colleagues who accused them of possessing weapons. In the following tweets, Dhaif tweets about that and demands others to break their silence:

@ghassandhaif: It is awful that a doctor back stab his colleagues in medical profession. Prof McCormack in response to bahraini medics case.

@ghassandhaif: SMC administration have seen doctors and nurses helping casualties and not engaged in non-professional acts. It is unfair to accuse them.

@ghassandhaif: MOH official have entered history by not defending consultants who have saved humanity for over 25 years without discrimination.

@ghassandhaif: Over 50 witnesses gave their testimony to the court which deny all charges. The judge got fed up & said it's enough. Then 15 years sentence

@ghassandhaif: Tell the truth that all health professionals at salmaniya were treating and helping to save lives and are not criminals.

Support the medics

Dr Ghassan Dhaif has been a good voice for the case of Bahraini medics. He spoke up, unveiling the truth and he has been active though media and social networking for his case. In the following tweets, we see the emotional side of his struggle and his need for support and solidarity:

@ghassandhaif: We have represented bahrain in international events and got recognized. We our country and will defend its soil forever.

@ghassandhaif: The medics are human being with emotions and feelings. Obviously they are shocked with these unfair and harsh sentences. We need support????

@ghassandhaif: Oh my people, my country, you don't know how much I love you and adore you. I want help you by whatever means I can till you”re satisfied.

@ghassandhaif: Do we think that tomorrow will better than today? Oh my country how much we loved and served you, at the end i go to jail for 15 years?

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


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