Amnesty launches petition to demand Bahraini activist’s release
Amnesty International has launched a petition, calling for the immediate release of a Bahraini activist doctor currently in prison for denouncing Manama’s response to 2011 anti-government protests.
In its petition, the rights group urged the unconditional release of Ali al-Ekri, a consultant surgeon, who is currently serving a five-year sentence under inhumane circumstances for peacefully exercising his rights to “freedom of expression and assembly.”
Amnesty says Ekri is a prisoner of conscience as he was arrested for his “vocal denunciation of the excessive force used by the armed forces against peaceful protesters during February-March 2011 protests to the international media.”
He was arrested while working in an operation room at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in the Bahraini capital, Manama, on March 17, 2011.
According to a testimony released in October 2011, the Bahraini surgeon said that he had been subjected to physical torture, including beating, kicking, sleep deprivation and sexual abuse.
“I was threatened with police dogs being brought to my cell and they made me imitate the barking of dogs, they made me lick the floor, the soles of their boots,” Ekri had said.
Ekri also said he had been forced to “confess to possession of weapons, heading a militia, and occupying the hospital.”
The rights group further called on Bahraini authorities to investigate Ekri’s claims of torture and ill treatment while in detention and to bring those responsible to justice.