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AS your readers may be aware, a number of Irish-trained doctors practising in Bahrain have been recently imprisoned.
Their sole “crime” was to follow the Hippocratic Oath and treat those injured in anti-government protests. At the time of writing, their fate is uncertain and their lives may be in danger.
I therefore read with disbelief the reported response of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who have refused to criticise the arrest of their graduates as they “do not comment on political situations or individual cases”.
It is possible this shameful silence may relate to the fact that RCSI runs a medical school in Bahrain supported by the regime that has thrown our colleagues in jail. However, regardless of their motivation, it is incredible that the college appears to be now incapable of defending the basic laws governing medical ethics, such as those upheld in the Geneva Convention.
Unfortunately, the RCSI is not alone in its silence. Other, usually vocal, medical bodies such as the Irish Medical Organisation appear also to have lost the power of speech on this issue.
Our government must protest the imprisonment of these doctors at the highest level in Europe. We should also immediately offer full political asylum and citizenship of Ireland to these colleagues upon their release. Action must be taken immediately as soon it may be too late.
Dr Ruairi Hanley
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