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Bahrain minister asks UN to probe hospital siege

Bahrain minister asks UN to probe hospital siege

Bahrain has invited the United Nations to investigate allegations of human rights abuse during the military takeover of a hospital in March, its acting health minister said Tuesday.
Fatima al-Balooshi said she proposed that the World Health Organization form a team to independently investigate the incident at Bahrain's Salmaniya hospital during a conversation with its head, Dr. Margaret Chan, on Sunday.
"I told her that verbally and now I will write to her formally and officially so she can send a group. We have nothing to hide," al-Balooshi told reporters in Geneva.
A spokeswoman for WHO declined to immediately comment on the issue.
Human rights groups claim soldiers and police conducted interrogations and detentions after anti-government protesters were treated at the state-run hospital.
The government says the complex was used to stage protests and has charged 47 doctors and nurses with offenses including assault, embezzlement and possession of weapons.
Asked why the government's version of events differed strongly from that of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others, al-Balooshi said the groups had purposefully ignored the official account.
"Unfortunately it is our word against their word," she said.
At least 30 people have died since anti-government protests began in mid February. Among the dead are four opposition supporters who died in custody, including a blogger.
Last month, four anti-government protesters were convicted of killing two policemen during the protests and sentenced to death by a military court. Three other demonstrators got life sentences.


Updated : 2021-05-14 06:13 GMT+08:00