PHR Reports Disappearances of at Least Two Bahraini Doctors in Past 24 Hours

Cambridge, Mass. – April 5, 2011 – According to Physicians for Human Rights' investigators in Bahrain, doctors are disappearing as part of a systematic attack on medical staff. Today PHR investigators learned that two physicians are missing following interrogations by unknown security forces at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Manama.

"We know of at least two doctors who have disappeared in the last 24 hours," said Richard Sollom, PHR's lead investigator.

Although families have tried to contact the administration officials with whom the doctors were last seen, the administration denies any knowledge of their whereabouts. According to family members, the physicians are being held incommunicado in unknown locations.

"Unfortunately, these incidents aren't isolated," said Sollom. "They seem to be part of a systematic attack on doctors in Bahrain. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have an ethical duty to prevent and limit suffering of patients in their care, and a duty to practice medicine in a neutral way without fear or favor. PHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to release these medical professionals unharmed in the absence of legitimate charges, or to formally charge them and assure them a fair and impartial trial."

PHR has a long history of investigating attacks against medical personnel. The human rights law, international humanitarian law, and medical ethics that define "medical neutrality" dictate noninterference with medical services in times of civil unrest.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent, non-profit organization that uses medical and scientific expertise to investigate human rights violations and advocate for justice, accountability, and the health and dignity of all people. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

1988 — First to document Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Kurds 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans 1996 — Produced critical forensic evidence of genocide in Rwanda 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines 2003 — Warned of health and human rights catastrophe prior to the invasion of Iraq 2004 — Documented and analyzed the genocide in Darfur 2005 — Detailed the story of tortured detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay 2010 — Showed how CIA medical personnel sought to improve waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that amount to torture