Medical charity condemns Bahrain hospital abuse

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2011 4:19 PM
Medical charity condemns Bahrain hospital abuse

An international humanitarian organization said Thursday that Bahraini authorities turned hospitals into "places to be feared" during a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters in the Gulf country.

Doctors Without Borders condemned the arrest of injured opposition supporters being treated at medical facilities. In a statement, the organization said Bahrain's security forces used hospitals and health centers as "bait to identify and arrest those (protesters) who dare seek treatment."

The capital's Salmaniya medical complex, in particular, was at the center of the country's turmoil, treating hundreds of injured demonstrators. The military took control of the facility, and doctors and patients there said soldiers and policemen interrogated and detained them.

Bahrain declared emergency rule last month and cracked down on protests by the country's Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy. The protests have called for sweeping political reforms and equal rights for Shiites. At least 27 people were killed.

Hundreds have been injured in clashes with riot police and security sweeps.

On Thursday, Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa warned the government's opponents against trying to restart their demonstrations, saying they were a small group and accusing them of trying to create sectarian divisions on the island.

"Those who seek to cleave our society into two will not be dealt with easily," Al Khalifa said in a short televised speech. "The story of (Bahrain's) success that we are living cannot be corrupted by a small group that seek its fall."

The crown prince also said the monarchy would press on with reforms, but did not provide specific examples.