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Page last updated at 08:03 GMT, Saturday, 2 July 2011 09:03 UK

'They have absolutely no mercy for people here'

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One of 20 doctors who have been put on trial in Bahrain after treating anti-government protesters in the capital, Manama, has given the Today programme a graphic account of how he and his colleagues were subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

The anonymous doctor, who has been released on bail after spending three months in detention, told Today presenter James Naughtie that he had been handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten.

The man, whose words are spoken by someone else to conceal his identity, alleged that he had been forced to confess in front of television cameras and described some of the interrogation techniques that were used.

"All very general questions, nothing very specific about what crime we were being accused of. And I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about.' And they start smacking me in the back and the lower part of my back by using a rubber hose or cable, and saying, 'You know the crime you've done, you must confess.'"

The doctor went on to say his interrogators had accused him of killing and injuring patients in order to portray the Bahraini government in a poor light.

"I said all the time, I don't deserve this. All what I have done has been genuinely sort of treating and saving lives. I thought that I should be rewarded for saving so many lives, rather then being here, being beaten and dehumanised, to confess that I have inflicted injuries. And they were forcing me to confess that we'd killed some of those who have died."

The BBC's Rupert-Wingfield-Haves says that, of 48 doctors originally arrested, 20 are still facing trial, as the Gulf state starts a "national dialogue" following March's demonstrations.


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