MANAMA, Bahrain, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A military prosecutor in Bahrain announced charges against 20 healthcare workers for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.
The group of Bahraini doctors and nurses were given sentences ranging from 5-15 years in prison on charges of "spreading fabricating stories and lies" and gaining access to "unlicensed weapons to topple the regime," the official Bahrain News Agency stated.
All of those sentenced to prison had worked at the Salmaniya medical complex in Manama. Bahraini security forces raided the facility in March as part of a crackdown on a Shiite uprising in the country.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the March 16 seizure by security forces of the hospital as "shocking and illegal conduct."
Human Rights Watch in a 54-page report published early this year said it had documented "serious government abuses" against medics and patients wounded during opposition protests.
In a separate case, BNA said Ali Yusuf Abdulwahab al-Taweel was sentenced to death and Mehdi Ali Attia was given a life-in-prison sentence for their role in the death of a Bahraini police officer.
Human Rights Watch said Washington was sending the wrong message when it authorized a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain. Bahrain was criticized for its response to the uprising.
Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.