Sunday, October 2, 2011
Roula al-Saffar tells Patrick Cockburn of electric shocks and threats
Monday, 3 October 2011
"As one of 20 Bahraini doctors and nurses given up to 15 years in prison, Dr Roula al-Saffar recalls with outrage the tortures inflicted as police tried to force her and other medical specialists to confess to "a doctors' plot" to overthrow the Bahraini government.
"It was a nightmare," Dr Saffar, the 49-year-old president of the Bahraini Nursing Society, told The Independent in a phone interview from Bahrain, on the day that she had originally been told she would go to prison – a fate that now appears to have been briefly postponed. "They gave me electric shocks and beat me with a cable. They did not let me sleep for three or four days."
She was given only a single bottle of water to drink in the course of a week-long interrogation. Even being given permission to go to the toilet depended on the mood of the police who were abusing her...
The account by Dr Saffar of her interrogation and mistreatment tallies so closely with that of other detainees that there seems to have been a common procedure, beginning with seven days of severe torture, including sleep deprivation and confinement in a cell with the air conditioning turned down to freezing. One obsession of her questioners was to force a confession that she and other doctors had taken bags of blood from the hospital blood bank to give to protesters to pour over themselves, to lend credibility to false claims that they had suffered injuries at the hands of the police. These and other charges, Dr Saffar said, were completely ridiculous."