BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Courts in Bahrain have failed to live up to their obligation to protect the right to protest the government peacefully, Human Rights Watch said.
Joe Stork, deputy director for Middle East affairs at Human Rights Watch, said the courts in Bahrain had a track record of backing what could be considered politically motivated charges filed against pro-democracy activists.
Sentences for nine physicians range were for up to five years in prison.
All of the accused worked at the Salmaniya medical complex in Manama. The complex in Manama was raided by Bahraini security forces in March 2011 as part of the regime's crackdown against the Shiite majority.
The official Bahrain News Agency, however, reported that the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry had found the medics served dual roles as political activists and medical personnel.
Stork said, in a statement from Beirut, the government has made "repeated" reform pledges but continues to violate "the most basic human rights of its citizens."
At least 50 people were killed during last year's uprising.
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