UN Condemns Bahrain’s Punishment of Protesters

Posted September 30th, 2011 at 6:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations has condemned the harsh sentences given by Bahrani military courts this week to anti-government protesters and medical personnel.

The U.N. Human Rights Office on Friday said the sentences raise serious doubts about the fairness of the court proceedings.

Twenty medical personnel were sentenced to jail for 5 to 15 years for treating protesters injured during anti-government demonstrations earlier this year.

Bahrain authorities accuse the doctors and nurses of using the hospital for anti-government activity, of possessing firearms and of having confiscated medical equipment.

The court also sentenced one protester to death for killing a policeman. More than 30 others received prison sentences of three years or more.

Spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said reliable sources told the U.N. that the defendants had limited access to lawyers, and most of the lawyers did not have enough time to prepare their case.

In New York, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed “deep concern” over the harsh sentences and urged the Bahrani government to “ensure the application of due process” and respect the rights of the accused.

Hundreds of activists have been imprisoned since March when Bahrain's rulers imposed martial law to deal with protests by the country's Shi'ite majority demanding greater rights and freedoms.