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‘No torture in Bahrain hospitals,’ RCSI tells Oireachtas

11 Apr 2014

Prof Jim Finucane

Former Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department at RCSI-Bahrain at the height of the Arab Spring in 2011, Prof Jim Finucane has denied torture ever occurred in Bahraini hospitals between 2008 and 2013.

Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection, he said: “We are not asking for accreditation by the beck of Council; we are asking for an evaluation for our suitability for accreditation, which is long overdue. We had been promised it and planned for it two years ago. It’s a matter of considerable concern to my colleagues and my students that I left [behind] in July of last year.”

Representatives of the RCSI, the National University of Ireland, Medical Council and the Department of Education and Skills appeared before the Committee last week to respond to human rights concerns in the Kingdom of Bahrain and related calls for the medical regulatory body to refrain from accrediting RSCI-Bahrain.

Prof Finucane added: “The first thing is I was Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department for five years between 2008 and 2013. One of the planks on which Ceartas has sought to have this evaluation suspended is that it alleges that there has been torture of individuals within the hospitals. I was in these hospitals every working day for the five years that I worked there. It is inconceivable that individuals were tortured within the precincts of these hospitals, so I can’t believe there is any basis for that very serious allegation.”

Gearóid Ó Cuinn, of Ceartas, an Irish lawyers for human rights group, said RCSI will claim there was no torture in the hospitals, but the Bahraini government’s own commissioned report, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), clearly outlined the human rights abuses against medical staff.

A Physicians’ for Human Rights report of 2011, entitled ‘DO NO HARM: A call for Bahrain to End Systematic Attacks on Doctors and Patients’, documented armed forces inside Salmaniya Hospital targeted and detained medical staff.

Click here for full report on Oireachtas hearing.

11 April 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times