Bahrain clears 21 medics of charges in protests
April 1, 2013 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
- The allegations date back to the unrest in Bahrain last year
- Medics are accused of turning a hospital into "illegal gatherings," the government says
- Critics say the medics were targeted for treating injured protesters
(CNN) -- An appeals court in Bahrain has overturned the conviction of 21 medics for their role in anti-government protests two years ago.
Prosecutors had convicted about two dozen medics on misdemeanor charges, saying they had turned the Salmaniya Medical Center in the capital Manama into "a place of illegal gatherings and strikes, in violation of laws" during the protests.
On Thursday, the High Civil Court of Appeal acquitted 21 medics. Two others who did not show up to court lost their right to file an appeal, the Bahrain News Agency reported.
Human rights groups have always said the medics were just treating injured demonstrators.
2012: Revolution deferred in Bahrain
Protests in Bahrain started in February 2011 spurred by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
But demonstrations in Bahrain failed to gain the traction of other Arab Spring uprisings after a crackdown by authorities in the island state. The crackdown was backed by troops from nearby Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
That November, Bahrain's Independent Commission of Inquiry issued a report critical of authorities' reactions to the protests.
The independent commission, set up by the king, concluded that the police had used excessive force and torture in their response to the protests in Sunni-ruled, Shiite-majority country.
Abuse of detainees in the crackdown included beatings with metal pipes and batons, and threats of rape and electrocution, according to Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, the commission chairman.
The report recommended reforms to the country's law and better training of its security forces, as well as other measures.
Bahrain plays a key strategic role in the Middle East and is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet headquarte
Part of complete coverage on
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
The Web is set to change our lives over the next decade. This will also question the use of personal data and balancing new powers with ethics.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0111 GMT (0911 HKT)
The image of the Shinkansen bullet train streaking past Mount Fuji is a powerful part of the iconography of the resurgent post-war Japan.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1333 GMT (2133 HKT)
Imagine the delight at unwrapping your Christmas present in 2043 and discovering you've been gifted a trip around the Moon.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
Brazil's image as FIFA World Cup host takes a hit as three football fans critically injured.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0727 GMT (1527 HKT)
A new political party claiming to champion ordinary Indian voters makes a startling electoral debut.
Few words in Hungarian, including place names, are easily recognizable to foreigners.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
Walking into one of Yayoi Kusama's infinity rooms is like walking into a completely different universe.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1055 GMT (1855 HKT)
Meet Tony Allen -- famous for helping create Afrobeat by fusing different beats and patterns.
December 8, 2013 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Fans converged on the site where Paul Walker died to pay tribute to the actor. CNN's Paul Vercammen reports.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1002 GMT (1802 HKT)
Watching digital artist Kyle Lambert's stunning photo-realistic iPad paintings emerge from a blank screen is an awe-inspiring experience.
Today's five most popular stories