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SMC siege medics jailed

THIRTEEN medics were yesterday jailed for 15 years each for illegally occupying Bahrain's main hospital during the unrest.

Two others were given 10-year sentences and another five locked up for five years.

The doctors, nurses and medical staff were convicted of possessing unlicensed weapons including two Kalashnikovs and ammunition, colonising Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) and imposing their will, inciting others to overthrow the regime and destroying medical equipment.

None attended the National Safety Court hearing, having been freed on bail earlier this month.

They have been given 24 hours to report to the nearest police station or have warrants issued for their arrest.

Judges also ordered the confiscation of weapons and ammunition at the hospital.

The sentence was welcomed by the Information Affairs Authority.

"The Salmaniya hospital was used as a co-ordination centre for three weeks for protests calling for the overthrow of the government," said a spokesman.

"Those doctors who have been found guilty were charged with abusing the hospital for political purposes. Nobody is above the law.

"The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which is independent of the government, has been investigating all the events of the unrest, especially in February and March.

"When it publishes its findings by the end of October, everyone will know what happened during those dark times, which will help all of the country move onward."

Those jailed for 15 years are Dr Ali Al Ekri, Ali Hassan Al Saddadi, Nader Mohammed Hassan Dewani, Ahmed Abdulaziz Omran Hassan, Mahmood Asghar Abdulwahab, Ibrahim Abdulla Ibrahim, Rula Jassim Mohammed Al Saffar, Abdulkhaleq Ali Hussain Al Oraibi, Ghassan Ahmed Ali Dhaif, Bassem Ahmed Ali Dhaif, Sayed Marhoon Majed Al Wedaie, Nada Saeed Abdulnabi Dhaif and Qassim Mohammed Mohammed Omran.

The pair jailed for 10 years are Hassan Mohammed Saeed Nasser and Saeed Modahir Habib Al Samaheji.

Fatima Salman Hassan Haji, Deya'a Ibrahim Jaffar, Najah Khalil Ibrahim Hassan, Mohammed Al Faeq Al Shehab and Zahra Mahdi Al Samak received five-year sentences.

Police are still hunting for Mr Al Saddadi and Mr Omran.

Lawyers plan to appeal the verdict at the High Appeal Criminal Court.

Representatives from human rights groups, the media, diplomats and families of the medics attended the hearing.



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