Bahrain medics on trial 'still practising'
Manama, October 29, 2011
Several medics on trial for alleged offences at Bahrain's main hospital during the unrest have been treating patients in private clinics, it has emerged.
The 20 suspects, who were earlier released on bail, cannot practise at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) because of the case against them.
Thirteen were jailed for 15 years each, two for 10 years and five others for five years at the National Safety Court last month.
But they were freed on bail pending the outcome of an appeal at the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court.
Prosecutors announced during a hearing last week that several charges against the medics, including inciting hatred against the regime and illegal gathering, had been dropped.
They are now only facing charges of illegally occupying SMC during the unrest and possessing unlicensed weapons.
But news that the medics - 12 men and five women - were practising again sparked an angry reaction from the Bahrain Medical Society (BMS).
'We are talking about patients' lives at stake here,' said president Dr Nabeel Al Ansari.
'All one has to do is go to YouTube and there is enough evidence against these medics. It's all out there.'
Defence lawyer Sayed Mohsen Al Alawi, a member of the legal team acting for the medics, said they had every right to resume work in private clinics.
'There is no legal provision preventing doctors from opening their clinics to treat their patients,' he told the GDN.
'This is one of their main duties to treat patients and they cannot be stopped from their practice.'
Al Alawi said some doctors had been operating private clinics for a long time and had patients to follow up with. 'They are not banned from working in their clinics,' he added.
Dr Al Ansari said the issue had arisen because the National Health Regulatory Authority had failed to revoke the medical licences of the doctors.
'But if they do resume their duties (at SMC) they should not treat patients and be shifted to other departments,' he said.
The BMS was initially planning to cancel society membership of the 12 doctors and eight medical staff following the National Safety Court verdict.
'But now have to wait until final court verdict before taking any step,' added Dr Al Ansari.-TradeArabia News Service