SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – It is usually the case that prisoners attempt to break free from jail, but Irish trauma surgeon Prof Damian McCormack and other colleagues have selflessly offered themselves up for imprisonment in Bahrain in place of imprisoned medic Dr Ali Al Ekri, incarcerated and allegedly tortured by his country’s regime.
The human rights activists made the offer as it emerged that the Gulf state may have allegedly used 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) gas — up to 10 times more toxic than normal tear gas — to quell anti-government protestors, in contravention of international conventions.
Human rights groups claim this has resulted in at least 34 deaths and several spontaneous miscarriages.
Bahrain’s Ministry of the Interior and the Public Prosecution Office have previously denied that any deaths or miscarriages were linked to tear gas dispersal and asserted that such claims were fabricated.
Prof McCormack communicated his ‘offer’ in an open letter to King Hamad in the current issue of Irish Medical Times. “As I have said in my letter, I am willing to do the prison time for Ali Al Ekri,” Prof McCormack told IMT.
An Irish-trained surgeon, Dr Al Ekri has served about six months of his five-year term for his alleged role in an uprising in the country in 2011.
“In other words, the Khalif regime have to release him and I and others would do stints to cover the sentence,” the campaigner said, adding some Irish medical colleagues, other activists and people had already volunteered to serve time on Dr Al Ekri’s behalf. He added that they would organise an international petition to get more volunteers involved.
While he did not expect the Khalif to accept his proposal, Prof McCormack insisted it was a “serious offer”.
Prof McCormack, who helped to train Dr Al Ekri in Dublin, added: “It is unfair that he be sent to prison under normal circumstances. I am equally guilty under the same twisted rules. In the context of the dysfunction of the Bahrain legal system, if that dysfunction were to apply in our world, then that offer becomes real.”
Dr Al Ekri and other medics reportedly attended to injured civilians in Salmaniya Hospital during Arab spring-style protests in Bahrain, and went on to speak out about the alleged atrocities they saw in an attempt to stop the killing.
Prof McCormack, who recently accompanied some Bahraini medics and activists to the UN in an attempt to pressure Bahrain on the issue, revealed results of tests by a leading Dublin university that analysed some ‘tear gas canister’ samples allegedly used by Bahraini police.
“Yes, it is CS — not tear gas, not pepper spray — in quite a high concentration,” he claimed.
Source : Irish Medical Times