Supporters of Bahraini medical staff who have been detained and tortured for tending to anti-regime protesters held a solidarity demonstration outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary last week.
“I’m proud to be here campaigning with Unison members in Manchester to win support for the Bahraini medics who have been imprisoned in my country,” said Shaheed al-Markhi.
Shaheed was working as a specialist nurse at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in Bahrain on 17 February. That was when people protesting in Bahrain’s capital were attacked by the regime.
“I went to help one protester who had been shot,” said Shaheed. “A policeman said to me that if I treated him then he would shoot me.
“The reason they’re attacking medical staff is that we know what happened. We saw everything. They want to silence us. They still have my friend and colleague Hassan Matooq.”
Some 20 Bahraini medics have now been imprisoned. Karen Reissmann, a nurse from Manchester, helped win support for them from the Unison union’s health group executive.
“Nurses and health workers in Britain and right across the world are outraged at these draconian sentences,” she said. “All the medics should be released and all the charges dropped immediately.”
Paul Reed, who leads a patients’ campaign group in Manchester, also joined the solidarity protest. “It is unbelievable that nurses face prison sentences for doing what they are trained for and what is their calling—treating people,” he said.