HRF: Washington should Call on Manama to Drop Charges against Sheikh Al-Salman and Dr. Al-Dirazi
2016-08-23 - 6:35 p
Bahrain Mirror-Exclusive: Human Rights First said in a statement on the Internet that "the U.S. government should speak out on behalf of both these men (Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman and Dr. Taha Al-Dirazi) and call for the charges against them to be dropped."
The organization indicated that the neurosurgeon Dr. Taha Al-Dirazi was due to perform an operation on Tuesday, but instead he was in Bahrain's Dry Dock prison. He is charged with taking part in an illegal gathering, a charge often "brought by the authorities against political opponents and activists in the government's ongoing targeting of dissidents."
The Bahrain government has called Dr. Al-Dirazi in for questioning before, and prevented him from travelling to the United Kingdom in June this year, but this is the first time he has been charged.
After treating injured protestors in the main government hospital, the Salmaniya Medical Complex, he was called for interrogation and suspended from his job without any official charge against him, then forced into early retirement.
HRF said in its statement "the attacks on those perceived to be critics of the government are intensifying". A group of United Nations human rights independent experts criticized the recent wave of arrests, detentions, interrogations, and criminal charges intended to restrict the freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion or belief.
U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein tweeted concern about the charges brought against Dr. Al-Dirazi and against leading interfaith cleric Maytham Al-Salman.
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