May 31, 2011

Saeed Mahdi has been detained for weeks in Bahrain after being severely beaten upon arrest by authorities. No information has been provided about his condition and whereabouts.


BRUSSELS, MAY 31, 2011An employee of the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been detained for weeks in Bahrain after being severely beaten upon arrest by authorities, and with no information provided about his condition and whereabouts, including to his family and lawyer. 

Saeed Mahdi was arrested in Bahrain on May 6, 2011, two days after his house was burned down by security personnel.

“Since Saeed Mahdi’s arrest, we don’t have any information about where he is being detained, why he was arrested, or what charges are pending,” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF's director of operations in Brussels.

Despite assurances by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Social Development that he could be visited, neither his family nor his lawyer have yet been granted access to him.

“Considering the types of injuries people have sustained due to mistreatment in detention, as witnessed by MSF medical personnel, we are extremely concerned about the safety of Saeed Mahdi,” Oberreit said.

MSF is calling on the authorities to allow his family and lawyer immediate access to him.

MSF first had a team on the ground in Bahrain two days after protests began in February 2011. Since then, MSF has seen close to 100 people too afraid to leave their homes to seek care in health facilities. MSF raised concerns about the loss of neutrality of Bahrain’s medical facilities, and the related deprivation of care to numerous sick and wounded people in a report issued in April 2011.