Plenary speech on the situation in Bahrain

Mr President, before a doctor begins to practise, he or she swears to help those in need of medical help, indiscriminately. That is a universally-applied principle. Bahraini doctors, many of whom were educated here in the EU, did just that. Amidst a violent government-led crackdown on peaceful protesters these doctors risked their lives to assist fellow citizens in need. They have now been convicted by military courts and received draconian sentences of up to 15 years for fulfilling their obligations. The allegations seem fabricated and politically-motivated. We observe worrying trends. One is that of targeted attacks against doctors and paramedics but, more broadly, military trials for civilians. The abuse of emergency laws is of great concern. That must end. We condemn these highly cynical abuses of power and demand the unconditional release of the Bahraini doctors and all other political prisoners, including bloggers. It is not only the Bahraini Government that needs to be addressed here; EU companies have played an unpleasant role in the crackdown. Some have been laying off workers at the demand of the government and others have provided surveillance technology. These practices, as well as any and all weapon exports, must stop and human rights must be respected.