Hassan Matooq is not one of the 20 medics currently on trial. He is a nurse that has already been sentenced to 3 years and is currently in prison.
Doctors In Chains received this testimony from one of his colleagues:
“Mr. Hassan Matooq, 30 years old, is the eldest child of his family. He is married and has one son just 6 years old. He has seven years experience as an emergency specialized nurse. His goal was to continue his studies until he gets his Ph.D.
If you know Hassan, you will always remember his smile and well manners! He is so much loved by his family, colleagues and patients. He loves children which explains why he works at the pediatric emergency room.
You will always see Hassan coming to work two hours earlier than his shift to help others finish their work. He is well known for his volunteer work especially at the Bahrain Nursing Society. If you ask him to volunteer for any activity he will say: no problem, when, where and what do you want me to do? But he never knew that because of his volunteer work at the emergency department during the crisis in Bahrain he would end up in jail and sentenced for three years.
He was accused of photographing during the crisis. For those who do not know him, his hobby and the love of his life is photography. You will always see him carrying a camera. We use to kid him that he might be sleeping with his camera! He believes that pictures will stay forever that is why it is important for him to take pictures of everything in his life, especially his son and family gatherings. He never knew that his camera would be the main cause of entering jail and it would separate him from his family for years.
He never was involved in politics. He does not belong to any political parties nor has he attended political lectures. On his days off, he travels around the Kingdom of Bahrain taking pictures. He does not talk much but when he does talk, he talks about his camera and its functions. Mr. Hassan Matooq never spoke about politics or hatred to the system. But whenever there is a crisis in the country, he runs to the emergency room to help and that is exactly what he did during Bahrain crisis back in the 1999 Gulf air crisis and in February 2011.
On the 24th of March, Mr. Matooq was working at the emergency department during the night shift. Around one o’clock AM around twenty soldiers with masks came into the emergency department and arrested him with no respect to his nursing uniform.
They first insulted him with bad words and cussed him, and then started to hit him badly. One of the soldiers saw Hassans’ ring; he grabbed it and wore it while others were hitting him. Hassan was taken from the emergency room without any lawyer nor informing his family.
His friends informed his family what happened and that is when the family started the search for their son Hassan for two weeks before they got to know that he was arrested and in Alnaeem police station. All they wanted to know whether he is alive or not. Finally after three weeks a call was placed to his family asking them to bring some clothes to Hassan. That means Hassan stayed without clean clothes for three weeks with his uniform on.
Finally he was able to talk to his family and inform them that he was hanged from his hands for eight days, while being hit and tortured and never allowed to sleep. He was always threatened by the soldiers that they will rape his wife and sister in front of him if he does not inform them where is his camera and the pictures that he has taken during the crisis. His camera and all related photography equipment and his wife’s car was confiscated by the soldiers.
After a month and a half of his detention without a lawyer, a phone call was placed to his family around one o’clock PM, informing them that his court date will be the next morning and if they want to bring him a lawyer. His lawyer requested from the general prosecutor to postpone his court date due to the shortage of time and wanting to meet with his client. Unfortunately, it never happened. He was accused of taking pictures and fabricating reality and public gathering.
His lawyer requested an appeal and until this day he was not allowed to have an appeal day. The family members had met with Dr. Ashraf Bassioni head of the Bahrain Investigational Commission who promised to visit Hassan, but unfortunately nothing happened.
Seven months have passed and Mr. Hassan Matooq is jailed and sentenced to three years in prison without an appeal. He is only allowed to have two phone calls per week and two visits with his family per month.
We urge you to do something for this medic. All that he did was to volunteer to help and provide care to wounded patients. His guilt is demonstrating his hobby and holding his camera that he loves. We urge the nursing societies and photography societies to support Mr. Hassan Matooq.”
Please sign and promote the petition to request the release of Hassan and two other medical workers who do not deserve to spend a single day more in prison.
If you would like to post an expression of support to Hassan and his family you may do so below. Please note that all comments will be moderated and we will not publish anything that is offensive.
Read about the other medics currently in prison here.