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Bahrain doctor: If US loses the faith of people like me, it loses the Mideast

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I was forced to sign a statement confessing to hatred for the regime, criminally supporting protesters, and other trumped up charges.

Along with the 19 other medics who were also tortured into confessing, I was convicted in a sham military trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison. We expect the verdict of our appeal very soon.

We are all out of detention while this appeals process drags on, and I recently went to the United States to ask American lawmakers and administration officials to support the Bahraini people.

Bahrain is a small country. Our democratic uprising has not received as much attention in the West as those in Egypt or Syria. But in terms of the percentage of people participating, our movement is among the largest.

Like people in other Arab Spring countries, we just want our basic rights as human beings. And like the regimes in other Arab Spring countries, the Bahraini monarchy has responded with violence. It has shot indiscriminately at peaceful protesters, detained thousands, and tortured many. Several people have died in custody.

When President Obama spoke about “the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens” in his May 2011 speech about the democratic uprisings in the Middle East, the Bahraini people cheered. But since then, even as the Obama administration loudly denounces the brutality of other regimes in the region, it remains relatively muted about the abuses of the Bahraini monarchy.

And it hasn’t canceled a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain that includes the kind of military vehicles used to quash the uprising. We wonder how the US reconciles this with the claim that it supports “the universal rights of Bahraini citizens.”

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