"Instead of rights, every family got a political prisoner," said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. "After almost three months of military rule, the crisis has deepened because every family suffered when the army was sent in to solve a political problem."
Hundreds of protesters and professionals such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, and even soccer players have been arrested and tried in a special security court. Official use of torture has become widespread. According to Rajab, up to 98% of the people detained by state security forces were abused. "No one was immune," said Rajab. "Very rarely will you find someone who was arrested but not abused."
Particularly reprehensible have been the security forces’ attacks on doctors and nurses for treating protesters injured by the army and security forces. A recent report issued by Human Rights Watch details “attacks on health care providers; denial of medical access to protesters injured by security forces; the siege of hospitals and health centers; and the detention, ill-treatment, torture, and prosecution of medics and patients with protest-related injuries.”
“The attacks on medics and wounded protesters,” says Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, "have been part of an official policy of retribution against Bahrainis who supported pro-democracy protests. Medical personnel who criticized the severe repression were singled out and jailed."
Twenty-three doctors and 24 nurses who treated protesters were charged with treason. The BBC reported that these medical personnel were tortured into making false confessions, according to their families. On March 16, after the Saudi invasion, security forces occupied Salmaniya, Bahrain’s main public hospital. One ward of the hospital located on the sixth floor was turned into “a makeshift detention facility where security forces subjected patients to incommunicado detention, regular beatings, torture, and other forms of mistreatment,” witnesses informed Human Rights Watch.