A doctor sentenced on claims of aiding anti-government protests in Bahrain went on a hunger strike Thursday.
Saeed al-Samaheeji was among nine medical professionals sentenced last week to prison terms ranging from one month to five years, a decision that has been condemned by international rights groups.
Nine others were freed, and 15-year sentences were upheld against two doctors who fled Bahrain.
The 58-year-old Samaheeji remains free while he considers appealing his one-year sentence. He said Thursday that he went on a hunger strike to protest brutal and fabricated charges and draw international attention to the plight of all the doctors
He further hoped their sentences would eventually being thrown out.
The doctors said they were only doing their jobs during the protests and subsequent bloody crackdown.
"We are doctors, not criminals, and we were trying to save lives, and these sentences are political convictions. ... We are innocent," al-Samaheeji told reporters.
The Salmaniya Medical Complex was thrust into the forefront of the unrest after security forces stormed a protest encampment in the early weeks of the uprising.
Initially, 20 medical personnel were sentenced to prison terms of between five and 15 years by a now disbanded security tribunal, set up by the monarchy as part of crackdowns against civilian protests that began in February 2011.
A retrial in civilian court was ordered earlier this year following intense pressure from international rights and medical groups.
It is worth mentioning that hundreds of other protesters, activists, athletes and professionals have been tried in the court. Among them is Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, whose ended a more than 100-day hunger strike earlier this month to protest his life sentence for anti-state crimes.
A retrial has since been ordered for a 21-member group that includes al-Khawaja.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org