Medics' case claims denied
Feb. 04--ALLEGATIONS that six medics arrested during unrest in 2011 were mistreated in custody were denied yesterday by 10 Interior Ministry staff, including senior officials.
They were testifying in the trial of two police lieutenants, a man and a woman, facing torture charges in the High Criminal Court.
During the hearing the witnesses claimed medics were given comfortable conditions in prison, while one of them added that the female defendant worked in the anti-drug unit, which meant she was not involved in the medics cases.
"During the National Safety period, I visited the building where the medics were being questioned," said a senior Interior Ministry official.
"I saw two of the doctors and spoke to one of them as I passed them in an alleyway at the building.
"One was Dr Ali Al Ekri (who is not among the victims) and he was talking normally to the lieutenant (the male defendant) without being handcuffed or blindfolded.
"They were having a friendly conversation where he (Dr Al Ekri) told him (the defendant) that he had studied in Iraq.
"He also asked for a cigarette and the defendant handed him a cigarette to smoke.
"He did not have any injury marks on his body that showed he was mistreated. He was completely fine.
"The other doctor was Jalila Al A'ali and she told me that they needed more equipment at the detention centre, like soap and towels, and to be allowed more calls to her family.
"I did not see any signs of mistreatment on her or on any of the medics.
"The pair I spoke to did not tell me they were mistreated either."
Lawyers representing the victims laughed during his testimony and claimed that Dr Al Ekri did not smoke.
Meanwhile, a lieutenant in the anti-narcotics unit -- where the female defendant works -- told judges that they were not asked to get involved in such cases.
"She (the female defendant) and I both work in the drugs unit," he said yesterday.
"We just did our job and were not asked to look into other cases.
"Our manager could ask us to look into other cases, but I don't think he asked her to do that."
A third witness, also a lieutenant, claimed the medics were treated well in prison.
"I would see the medics on my way in and out of the building, they always looked fine and were treated nicely," he said.
"They would sit or will be walking around as they wished."
A clerk, who works in the office of the male defendant and who recorded the alleged victims' statements, told judges that the medics were treated with respect.
"He (the male defendant) is a very respectful person who treated all suspects he questioned with good ethics," he said.
"He did not prolong the questioning, but asked them straightforward questions and they answered them without difficulty.
"None of them were ever mistreated or asked questions in a way that would insult them."
Both defendants appeared in court yesterday for the hearing.
The male defendant is accused of abusing four medics -- Ahmed Omran, Sayed Marhoon, Ghassan Dhaif and Bassim Dhaif -- while the woman is accused of mistreating Zahra Al Sammak and Khulood Al Derazi.
Judges adjourned the trial until February 17 to summon more defence witnesses.
©2013 the Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
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