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
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 20, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
Today's five most popular stories