Dr. Taha Al-Dirazi Describes Conditions of Political Prisoners in Bahrain: They Drink Water in Clorox Bottles, I Experienced these Sufferings!

2017-11-14 - 10:49 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): In a shocking tweet, neurosurgeon Dr. Taha Al-Dirazi described the situation of political prisoners in Bahrain. "They drink water in Clorox bottles and eat their meals on nylon bags instead of plates. They spend 23 hours in prison cells," he said.

 

 

Al-Dirazi posted the above tweet on his official Twitter account as part as a widespread solidarity campaign with the political prisoners under the hashtag #Save_Prisoners_of_Bahrain on October 23, 2017. It garnered many retweets and was circulated on a wide scale, which prompted pro-government accounts to attack Al-Dirazi, accusing him of lying and treason. Al-Dirazis' responded by saying: "I won't answer those who condemned the tweet and dubbed me a liar. They claimed it is a 5-star prison. If I hadn't been held there and didn't go through this suffering, I wouldn't have spoke."

Al-Dirazi spent three months in prison over charges related to his human rights activism and freedom of expression. He was released after serving his prison term on August 12, 2017. This is considered the first tweet in which Al-Dirazi reveals what he witnessed during that period.

Bahraini authorities arrested Al-Dirazi on August 14, 2016 after a lengthy investigation, accusing him of taking part in the open-ended Diraz sit-in held in protest of the revocation of the spiritual leader of the Shia majority Sheikh Isa Qassim's citizenship. He was released on August 23 with continued trial. The authorities then arrested him from the courtroom and directly transferred him to Jaw Prison, after the court issued a three-month jail term against him.

Dr. Taha, who is considered an exceptional medical figure in Bahrain, is one of the medics who was targeted and suspended from work in 2011 only because he treated injured people during the the 2011 events. He was head of the Neurosurgery Department in Al-Salmaniya Medical Complex and an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at the Arabian Gulf University. He was; however, suspended from work since then despite the urgent need for his specialty in the hospital, amid the lack of consultants in this significant and critical field of medicine.

Despite the material and psychological harassment practiced against Al-Dirazi since then, the travel ban imposed on him without the disclosure of clear reasons, the frequent summoning and lengthy interrogations, the charges of assembly brought against him as well as his imprisonment, Dr. Taha did not deviate from his firm position as a righteous consultant and indigenous Bahraini citizen. He once confirmed to Bahrain Mirror: "We are not politicians, we are professionals. Nonetheless, medicine without humanity is like praying without ablution."

When Al-Dirazi was suspended from work in 2011 and prevented from opening his clinic, he was offered jobs in two Gulf States and other opportunities in the UK, and Boston in America, yet he rejected all of them. The offers he received were all better than his situation in Bahrain, career-wise and financially. They also offered him an opportunity to escape from the political tensions and repression in Bahrain. "I rejected the offers without expecting from my country anything in return. A piece of bread dipped in water and shared with my people is better to me than the generous offers I received from outside Bahrain. My soul needs my country more than it needs bread or anything else. This people is the real beauty which I feel proud to belong to and be part of."

This person who loves his country this much without expecting gratitude and finds his spiritual needs to be dearer than his bodily need for bread is the same man who spent months behind bars sharing bread with political prisoners, drinking water in Clorox bottles, eating meals on nylon bags instead of plates and spending 23 hours inside his prison cell.

 

Arabic Version


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