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Bahrain jails 20 doctors (VIDEO)

Critics say the move is a reprisal for treating protesters.

Bahrain jailed 20 doctors Thursday in what critics say is punishment for treating protesters.

Bahrain's state news agency, BNA, said the doctors face theft and other charges and will be jailed for between five and 15 years, Reuters reports.

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The Gulf nation's authorities arrested dozens of medical staff during protests demanding political reforms and an end to sectarian discrimination against the Shi'ite majority.

"The doctors were charged with stealing medicine, stockpiling weapons and occupying a hospital during the unrest and in addition were jailed for forcibly occupying a hospital, spreading lies and false news, withholding treatment, inciting hatred of Bahrain's rulers and calling for their overthrow," according to Reuters.

GlobalPost's Tristan McConnell reported in August that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a four-year campaign to raise awareness about the issue of health workers and hospitals in war zones around the world being actively targeted for attacks.

“In Sri Lanka and Somalia, hospitals have been shelled; in Libya and Lebanon, ambulances have been shot at; in Bahrain, medical personnel who treated protesters are on trial; and in Afghanistan, the wounded languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues,” the ICRC says in its report ‘Health care in danger: making the case.'

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/110929/bahrain-jails-doctors