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Doctors as victims

Handcuffed man

We intervene where doctors themselves have become victims of human rights violations.

  • Turkey

    Imprisonment of doctors in Turkey

    In 2018 and 2019, the Turkish Government arrested, charged, and imprisoned a number of doctors on charges related to terrorism for expressing concerns about the health impacts of violent conflict. This is a gross violation of international human rights norms, particularly rights to freedom of expression and opinion as stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which was ratified by Turkey in 2003.

    We believe it is vital that the international community demands that Turkey ensures, in all circumstances, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the international human rights standards and instruments that it has ratified.

    We have written a series of letters to the Turkish Government, the Turkish Embassy, and the Foreign Office to raises our concerns. These letters are provided below:

    Further reading:

    Read our letters to the Turkish Head of State, the Turkish Ambassador, and the Foreign Secretary 2018-2019

  • Egypt

    Canadian doctor begins hunger strike in Egyptian custody

    The BMA has written to Egypt's interim president, minister of defence and public prosecutor, expressing concern at the treatment of Canadian nationals Dr Tarek Loubani and Professor John Greyson, who began a hunger strike in Egyptian custody on 16 September 2013, having been detained by security forces since 16 August.

    Dr Loubani was on his way to the university hospital in Gaza, accompanied by filmmaker Professor Greyson, when they were caught up in clashes in Ramsis Square, Cairo, between supporters of Egypt’s deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, the security forces and local residents.

    They were arrested at 10pm that evening when they approached the security forces to ask for directions to their hotel. The men are currently detained in Tora Prison, south of Cairo, where they have access to their lawyers and consular representatives.


    Further reading

    Read our letter to Egypt's interim president Adly Mahmoud Mansour - September 2013

    Read our letter to Egypt's minister of defence General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - September 2013

    Read our letter to Egypt's public prosecutor Hesham Mohamed Zaki Barakat - September 2013  

  • Iran

    In August 2019, the BMA wrote to the Iranian Ambassador and the Foreign Secretary to raise concerns about the detention of Dr Ahmadreza Djalali who has been denied access to healthcare while in detention and who is expected to be subject to the death penalty.

    Withholding or obstructing access to healthcare and treatment contravenes both medical ethics and international law, particularly the right to health. Furthermore, there is growing international consensus that the death penalty equates to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, which violates the right to life protected by Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Read our letter to the Iranian Ambassador, Hamid Baeidinejad - August 2019

    Read our letter to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP - August 2019

  • Sudan

    Death penalty for pregnant doctor in Sudan

    The BMA wrote to the Sudanese president expressing its 'profound abhorrence' at the death sentence passed on Dr Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, and called for her immediate and unconditional release.

    Dr Ibrahim, who was eight months pregnant at the time of sentencing, was handed the death penalty for the sole reason that she converted to Christianity and refused to make a public recantation of her faith. The BMA understands that she is also to be flogged because she is married to a Christian.

    In her letter to President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, BMA senior director Professor Vivienne Nathanson branded such sentences as 'fundamental violations of international human rights'.

    BMA chair Dr Mark Porter has written to David Cameron asking him to "use all avenues at [his] disposal to put pressure on the Sudanese authorities to overturn this grotesque sentence".


    Further reading

    Read BMA senior director Vivienne Nathanson's letter to the Sudanese President

    Read BMA chair Mark Porter's letter to David Cameron - May 2014