Bahraini doctors and nurses convicted of conspiring against the government are set to begin their jail sentences.
Some of them have been sentenced to 15 years in prison but the 20 medics maintain that their only crime was to treat wounded protesters. They are now due to launch an appeal.
The UN human rights office has questioned the fairness of the sentences issued by Bahrain’s military-run National Safety Court but the country’s government insists the medics actively supported oppostion protesters.
On Saturday, a government spokesman told Al Jazeera that “footage showed political rallies within the hospital grounds calling for the overthrow of the regime”.
He added that nurses were told to go on strike to overthrow the regime. The actions, he said, were “an attempted coup d’etat”.
Doctor Ghassan Dhaif received a 15-year sentence last Thursday, as did his brother, Bassem. Ghassan’s wife, Zahra al-Sammak, received five years.
Both Ghassan and Zahra worked at Salmaniyah hosptial for more than 20 years, and were the chairpersons of their respective departments until they were both suspended in March.