Arrest of a Defender who Contributed in Improving the Conditions of the Workers in Nursing

Arrest of a Defender who Contributed in Improving the Conditions of the Workers in Nursing 19 March 2010 The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights expresses its great concern regarding the arrest of the defender Ibrahim Al-Dimistani – Secretary of the Bahrain Nursing Society – the security authorities arrested Al-Dimistani after he contributed in treating a wounded person who was injured with metal splinters due to the riot forces using shotgun – a weapon for hunting birds – against the demonstrators. The Bahraini Ministry of Interior stated that, "While one of the patrols for maintaining order was carrying out its duty last (Monday) evening beside the area of Karzakan roundabout, a group of 60 people appeared and started throwing Molotov cocktails at the patrol, targeting the lives of the patrol police, which made it necessary to deal with them according to the legal jurisdictions authorized to the police, where warning shots were fired into the air to disperse them. They, however, did not obey. Shotgun weapon was used against those people and then they fled. The General Director of the Police Directorate of the Northern Governorate stated that, through research and investigation it appeared that one of the perpetrators of these criminal acts was injured. He added that there is information that the injured was smuggled into one of the sections of Salmaniya Hospital to take x-rays of him, based on a recommendation of the nurse who volunteered to treat the injured and which necessitates an investigation and questioning the people who exceeded the norms of administrative procedures in entering patients for treatment and who did not cooperate with the security authorities and exceeded their legal jurisdictions and duties, emphasizing that hiding an injured and wanted person is considered a crime as it endangers the life of the injured" ([1]).

The BYSHR stresses that it has previously indicated the Bahraini Security Forces use of the shotgun weapon, and which is a weapon used for hunting birds, where it fires metal balls that penetrate the body and which are difficult to extract, and which could cause deep wounds that lead to death. The Ministry of Interior had previously denied the use of shotgun weapon against the demonstrators ([2]).

The information indicates that the injured is from Karzakan area, and he was present in the area to visit his grandfather’s house on 14th March 2010, and during security confrontations between the youth from the area and the security men, the riot police used the shotgun weapon randomly against the demonstrators, and the citizen Hasan Ali Hasan Al-Sahlawi (25 years old) was injured with several splinters in different parts of his body – 70 splinters according to press releases – which urged him to go to the nurse Ibrahim Al-Dimistani in order to extract the splinters from his body, and he was hesitant to go to the Salmaniya Hospital – a government hospital – believing that the security forces will arrest him.

According to the statements of the lawyer of the defender Al-Dimistani “the accused injured is staying in Salmaniya under guard now, and he was wounded in several parts of his chest and neck and in his genitals, and there were injuries in his back as well. He headed towards the house of Ibrahim Al-Dimistani, the Secretary of the Nursing Society, and who opened the door for him and found that he was injured, so he aided him and informed him of the need to go to Salmaniya Hospital out of fear for his health, because he bled a large amount of bled. The injured left his house and went the next day to Salmaniya Hospital for x-rays” ([3]).

The Public Prosecution charged Ibrahim Al-Dimistani and Abdul-Aziz Shabeeb – the x-ray technician – with hiding a fugitive, and their detention was renewed for 7 days pending issue ([4]).

The BYSHR confirms that the arrest of Ibrahim Al-Dimistani is due to his work in the Bahrain Nursing Society, and the Public Prosecution had previously charged Ibrahim Al-Dimistani and Rola Al-Saffar – president of the Bahrain Nursing Society – with defamation and insult to the officials in the Ministry of Health in August 2008; the judge acquitted Al-Dimistani and Al-Saffar of the case.

The Ministry of Social Development – the panel in charge of civil organizations – attempted to control the administration of the Nursing Society due to the Society launching a campaign to improve the conditions of the nurses in hospitals, and the Society embarked on a campaign to wear a badge as an expression of protest of the conditions of nurses in hospitals.

In 2008, the Ministry of Development appointed a temporary manager for the Nursing Society to control that protest carried out by that administration at that time, and this appointing led to nurses and administration’s refusal for that temporary manager, due to his relations with the official apparatuses in Bahrain ([5]).

In 2010, the general assembly of the Nursing Society unanimously elected the new board members, and the Ministry of Social Development refused to recognize the new board and which included Rola Al-Saffar and Ibrahim Al-Dimistani.

The BYSHR emphasizes that the arrest of Ibrahim Al-Dimistani is a result of his peaceful and legitimate work in improving the conditions of nurses and protecting them, and stresses that Al-Dimistani is categorized as a defender of human rights and expresses its concern regarding his physical and mental safety.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights demands the following:

1. To immediately release the defender Ibrahim Al-Dimistani, and provide legal protection for him and to facilitate his task in his work at the Bahrain Nursing Society;
2. to immediately and urgently investigate the use of shotgun weapon against the demonstrators;
3. to bring the ones responsible and accused of using shotgun weapon to justice in an open and fair manner;
4. to stop targeting the defenders of human rights.

The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights

[[1]] Refer to the statement of the Bahraini Ministry of Interior

[[2]] Refer to the joint statement: The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, The Bahrain Center for Human Rights on the use of shotgun weapon

[[3]] Refer to the press statement of the lawyer Hafedh Ali Hafedh, Akbar-al-khaleej newspaper, 19 March 2010

[[4]] Article 256 of the Penal Code

[[5]] Refer to the Bahraini Al-Wasat newspaper, Friday 15 August 2008

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