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Bahraini Authorities Continue to Punish Opponents By Imprisoning Them

[Rola al-Saffar] [Rola al-Saffar]

[The following is a report by the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) regarding today’s sentencing of Rola Al-Saffar and Ibrahim Al-Demistani.]

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) expresses its great concern that the Court of Appeal upheld the sentence today against Mrs. Rola Al-Saffar– Head of Bahrain’s Nursing Society– and Mr. Ibrahim Al-Demistani–Secretary General– who is serving a one month prison sentence in a different case related to the protests of 14 February 2011.

Details show that the Court of First Instance issued a verdict against Mrs. Rola Al-Saffar and Mr. Al-Demistani in 2007 on the charge of “conducting the affairs of the Nursing Society despite being dismissed from it by the Ministry of Social Affairs, and refusing to hand over the funds to the temporary manager appointed by the Ministry.”

On 23 March 2007, the Bahraini Authorities decided to close down the Society after the Society attempted to hold an event in solidarity with Mr. Al-Demistani– who had been arrested for treating an injured person in a demonstration against the government– the head office was closed by using the security forces who surrounded the place and prevented the administration board and those standing in solidarity with him from entering.

Mrs. Rola Al-Saffar faced charges after the protests of 14 February 2011. The Court of First Instance had sentenced her to fifteen years in prison, but the Court of Appeal acquitted her. Mrs. Rola Al-Saffar had participated in the meetings of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2012.

Mr. Al-Demistani is serving a three-year prison term after being sentenced by the court for his role in treating the injured in the protests of 2011. Mr. Al-Demistani had participated in training dozens of people in villages on the treatment of those wounded in the daily protests taking place in the villages since 14 February 2011.

The BYSHR believes that upholding the sentences against Mrs. Rola Al-Saffar was because of her role in demanding the release of the medics who were convicted for treating the injured in the protests and for her participation in the Universal Periodic Review in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Septemeber 2011.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) demands the following:

1- To immediately release the human rights activists and the medics;
2- Allow the civil society institutions to carry out their work freely and without restrictions.

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