Dr. Ahmed Omran, aged 47, is a senior consultant family physician. Ahmed has been working at the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the last 24 years. He is a medical consultant and was the head of the Clinical Audit Group in the Medical Review Office, and the Coordinator of Research and Studies in the Ministry of Health (MOH) until April 2011.
He was also:
- The past head of Administration Council of Isa Town Health for eight years (1995-2003).
- The past head of Pilgrimage (Hajj) Medical Mission for six consecutive years (2003-2008).
- An outstanding graduate of the World Health Organization / Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (WHO/EMRO) Leadership Development Program in International Health (Aug 93 – Jun 94).
- A temporary advisor for WHO/EMRO Community Based Initiatives (CBI) namely, Health Cities Project (HCP).
- The WHO/EMRO Focal Point for the World Health Survey, and Patients Safety Friendly Hospitals Initiative Project.
Three years ago he received his Masters in Patient Safety in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – University of Bahrain (RCSI-MUB).
Ahmed is married with six sons (three of whom are university students) and a daughter.
After extraction of false confession, Ahmed was charged via military court for the following offences and sentenced to fifteen years in prison:
- The attempt of forcefully occupying a public building (Salmaniya Medical Complex).
- Promotion to bring down and change the regime by illegal means.
- Spreading false news about the wounded.
- Inciting hatred against the governing regime.
- Participating and supporting unlicensed protests and rallies.
- Not informing the authorities of felonies.
He denied all these charges and explained that false confessions were extracted under violent physical and mental torture and he was forced to sign papers without reading them.
Here is a written testimony that Doctors In Chains have received directly from Dr Ahmed Omran regarding his arrest and subsequent trial in the military court:
“Since the start of the conflict in Bahrain on the 14th February, I was busy with my father who was admitted to the Coronary Care Unit at the Salmaniya Medical Complex in a critical situation. I was visiting my father frequently to take care of him. My father passed away at the end of February 2011.
During this period and while I was in the hospital there was a flood of injured protestors one day to the Accident and Emergency Department that was unable to accommodate all the casualties. Protestors with mild injuries were shifted to the outpatient department (OPD) area. I was asked by Dr. Suzan Abbas, the Deputy Chief of Medical Staff, to go to the OPD area to treat the patients because all doctors were busy. The patients I treated were those who had tear gas inhalation injuries and soft tissues injuries. My efforts were appraised by the head of accident and emergency department and the Deputy Chief of Medical Staff. That was the only time I voluntarily helped colleagues in treating the patients at Salmaniya Medical Complex during the conflict.
On Wednesday 16th of March, I was in my office in Salmaniya Medical Complex early morning. The minister of health Dr Nezar Albaharna was meeting with the military head to arrange for ambulances to go with doctors to bring injured people. He was asked by the coordinating staff (senior accident and emergency staff nurse) to join the medical team that was headed by Dr. Riydh, ICU consultant. But immediately when they reached hospital gate number one they were asked by the security force to come down and they were beaten and humiliated very badly for more than half an hour and their lives were jeopardized by weapons. Then they were asked to go back to the hospital. Dr. Riyadh had a fracture in his wrist, a staff nurse (Mr. Al Masqati) had multiple injuries all over his body, and Dr. Ahmed had a hematoma in his head (occipital area).
Interrogation in Salmaniya Medical Complex on 6th April:
I received a letter from the ministry legal advisor asking me to attend the hospital administration on 6th April for interrogation. The interrogation lasted for one hour and it was basically questions regarding whether I participated in protests mainly the one in the hospital car park, and whether I helped in treating injured protesters. They also asked me about going to the medical tent in the Pearl Roundabout. Next day on 7th April I received a letter of suspension from work.
Interrogation and Detention in the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) – Adleya:
On April 14th, 2011, while I was at home, I received a telephone call around 6 pm from the CID director asking me to go there as soon as possible for a short interrogation for half an hour to one hour (as they told me).
Once I reached there, I was blindfolded and handcuffed to the back. I was also subjected to physical attacks (over the head, back of neck and the back) and verbal humiliations. I was taken to the director who told me that last night they went to my previous home, there was another family there and it was subjected to physical damage. Meanwhile, I was subjected to physical torture.
Thereafter, I was taken to a clinic for a medical check outside the CID blindfolded and handcuffed to the back during which I was abused physically and insulted verbally by the guards during the transportation and in the clinic.
Then, I was brought back to the CID and taken to a room. There were two people who told me that they were not going to do an interrogation, but they were there for entertainment. I was subjected to physical torture and verbal humiliation for around an hour. They also verbally abused me, my wife, my mother and my sisters. I also had verbal attacks on my religious beliefs.
I was taken in the second day in the afternoon for interrogation for a few hours. The same day at evening I was taken again for interrogation because as they told me that the director is not happy with what I had said in the previous interrogation and I should give the confessions that they want. I was subjected to violent continuous physical torture of various kinds. I also had slaps on my face. I had flashing of light in my eyes with giddiness and I fell down. They stood me up again and continued the physical torture. I was also threatened to be electrocuted if I did not give false confessions. I was exhausted mentally and physically and false confessions were extracted under torture and of course in the absence of my lawyer. Thereafter, I was forced to sign many papers blindfolded without allowing me to read them.
On the third day, I was taken blindfolded and handcuffed to a big hall. There were a large number of detainees (medics). I was forced to sit in front of the cameras to repeat all the false confessions under threat of re torture and to be electrocuted if not obeying their commands. We were forced to listen to each confession and the interrogator was interrupting us and forcing each one to obey what he should confess on.
The next day (fourth day), I was taken again handcuffed and blindfolded to another interrogator who identified himself as the military prosecutor. The interrogation lasted for around six hours and false confessions were extracted under threat of re torture. At the end, he started throwing charges based on the false confessions. I was forced to sign many papers blindfolded without allowing me to read them. The charges at that time were not including the attempt of forcefully occupying a public building (Salmaniya Medical Complex). I was shocked in the military court when I heard the list of charges.
During my stay in the CID for around four days, I was subjected to intense torture and humiliation in the form of prolonged hours of standing that extended up to 12 hours in continuity, deprived from sleep, deprived from food, frequent attacks of boxing, kicking and slapping. During these four days I was blindfolded continuously, handcuffed to the back most of the time and standing facing the wall. Sometimes, I was allowed to go to the toilet handcuffed.
In the Temporary Detention (for five months):
On April 17th 2011, and after four days of interrogation and detention in the CIO, I was taken at night handcuffed and blindfolded to the temporary detention center. There, I was frequently physically abused by frequent attacks of boxing, kicking and slapping, even during going to the clinic for treatment. I was also subjected to verbal humiliation. I was kept with the same clothes for 21 days before receiving new clothes from my family, although I was asking the detention authority daily to contact my family. Thereafter, things started to ease down and the condition in the detention center improved gradually after the first session of the military court on 6th June 2011 and the establishment of Bahrain Royal Independent Investigation Committee.
On the 24th day of the temporary detention I was taken with other medics, handcuffed, blindfolded and under physical and verbal abuse, to the CID for further interrogations. Interrogations were completed to some and we were taken back to the detention center. Next day (25th day of detention) we were taken again to the CID in the morning in the same circumstances to complete the interrogation for others. My interrogation by the military prosecutor lasted for half an hour.
My First Contact with my Family since Detention:
On the 25th day of my detention and after the interrogation by the military prosecutor in the CID we urged them to allow us to call our families. After repeated requests, they allowed me to call my family by telephone for one minute only. I talked with my daughter and my wife each for a few seconds for the first time after my detention. It was a very painful emotional moment for me.
The First Session of the Military Court:
On the night of June 5th, 2011 at about 11:00 pm, the policeman in-charge in the detention told us to be ready at 4:00 am because they wanted to take us somewhere. At 4:00 am we were taken in groups (around 30 detainees) blindfolded, handcuffed and under physical and verbal insults to another detention center for a few hours, then to a far away place which we realize afterwards was the military court. Most of us were not well dressed because nobody told us that we were going to the court. We were packed in a small room for about an hour, and then made to stand under the sun for another hour. Then, immediately had our handcuffs and blindfolds taken off and pushed in to the court cage. It was the first time for me to see my wife and my brother. Following a short court session, we were allowed to meet with our family members and lawyers for the first time and for ten minutes only. It was a very painful and emotional moment to all of us. Following that, we were dragged again handcuffed and blindfolded back to the detention.
My first formal meeting with my lawyer was in the detention. It was at end of July 2011.”
On 14th June, thanks to the support Dr Omran has received from the international community, his sentence was quashed. However, he now needs to be reinstated at work and paid fair compensation since he is an innocent doctors whose human rights were seriously violated. Other colleagues were not as fortunate. Dr Ali Al Ekri still faces 5 years in prison.
You may wish to post a message of support here for Dr Omran using the form below. Note that all messages will be moderated and any that are abusive or damaging will not be published, as this family has suffered enough already.
You can also read Dr Ali Al Ekri’s personal testimony here.