Human rights in Bahrain worries London

May 13, 2011 at 10:56 AM
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LONDON, May 13 (UPI) -- Medical personnel in Bahrain should be allowed to care for patients without fear of political interference, the British government said Friday.

Bahrain is facing international criticism for using a heavy hand to suppress a Shiite uprising against the minority Sunni leadership. Al-Jazeera highlighted alleged reports of torture of detained medical workers while the United Nations condemned a March attack on a hospital in Manama.

"The U.K. government remains deeply concerned by reports of human rights abuses in Bahrain, particularly the widespread arrest of political activists and a large number of doctors and nurses," a statement from the British government read.

The ruling Sunni monarchy early this month ended a state of emergency declared in March. The British government welcomed the step but said the monarchy was still obligated to upholding its human rights obligations.

"It is essential that medical personnel can treat their patients free from political interference," the statement read. "Those accused should have access to legal counsel and be tried before independent and impartial courts."

A Bahraini official told al-Jazeera this week the lifting of the state of emergency showed the country had its affairs in order.

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