12/01/2012 – 7:11 p | Hits: 220
A policeman stands guard outside the Manama courthouse during a trial session for several Bahraini medics accused of involvement in anti-regime protests, January 9, 2012.
Bahraini has denied admission to a representative of the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), saying the human rights activist lacks a valid reason to enter the country.
Deputy PHR Director Richard Sollom was denied entry on January 8 despite his possession of a five-year multiple entry visa.
Bahraini immigration officers told him that members of a non-governmental organization needed a special permit to enter the country, what Sollom described as a concerted effort to keep him out.
“The authorities in the Kingdom of Bahrain maintain their discretion to admit persons, and the Bahraini authorities have not denied entry to anyone who visits for valid reasons and on account of genuine business,” Manama said in a statement published by Bahrain News Agency on Wednesday.
The statement said the Bahraini Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development had already asked Sollom to schedule his visit after end of February “so his visit would be more beneficial and most constructive.”
The official from the US-based NGO meant to attend an open trial of 20 Bahraini medics for their alleged involvement in anti-government protests, and had notified Bahraini authorities 10 days in advance of his intention.
The medics were sentenced to long jail terms by a military court but are being currently tried in a civil court, after the confessions made by the inmates were said to have been extracted under torture.
The barring of the PHR observer comes as the Manama regime continues its violent crackdown on opposition protests and has sentenced two more anti-government demonstrators to jail.
Bahrain has been experiencing a popular revolution since mid-February against the decades-long rule of Al Khalifa dynasty in the Persian Gulf island nation.
On March 14, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded Bahrain to assist the government in Manama in order to quash peaceful protesters in the country.
An independent inquiry commission mandated to probe the clampdown on ant-government protesters said in late November that the regime had used “excessive force” to crush the protests.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry urged the Bahraini government to revise verdicts handed down to protesters in military courts, and to set up a compensation fund for victims.
Dozens of anti-regime protesters have been killed since the outbreak of the popular protest in Bahrain. Hundreds more have been detained, including doctors and nurses who have been accused of treating the injured revolutionaries.