Out of prison but in fear of being rearrested, Bahraini women doctors have spoken of abuse and torture by police after being accused of backing pro-democracy protests in the monarchy.
Although medics usually enjoy protection in conflicts by virtue of their profession, many doctors and nurses in Bahrain were rounded up in the March crackdown.
Authorities accused them of abusing their jobs and siding with their co-religionist protesters.
Some of the women doctors recently freed said how they were made to confess to such allegations under torture and after being subjected to verbal abuse.
“I advise you that we will get you to say whatever we want, either by you saying it willingly, or we will beat you like a donkey and torture you until you say it,” one female doctor said, citing her interrogator. The doctor said she was asked about her role in the February 14 Revolution.
She said she was smacked in the face by a female interrogator when she answered that she was just a doctor treating those wounded during the crackdown on the uprising.
“It seems you don’t want to cooperate,” the female officer told her, while accusing medics of “stealing blood units to splash on the wounded” to exaggerate their injuries for television.
Blindfolded and handcuffed, the female doctor who claimed to have always been apolitical, said she was stunned with an electric shock to the head. She was then thrown on the floor, legs up, and beaten severely on the feet with what felt like an electric cable or a hose.
“Even policewomen were shocked when they saw my state as I came out of the interrogation room,” she said.
The following day, male interrogators took over, subjecting her to verbal sexual harassment and threatening to rape her.
The woman eventually agreed to sign every confession paper she was given for fear of being raped.