A civil court in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, has begun a new hearing for a group of 20 medical staff who were convicted of taking part in crimes against the state during anti-government protests that rocked the country last year.
The doctors, nurses and paramedics were handed sentences, ranging from five to 15 years in prison, on September 28, over a raft of charges, including incitement to overthrow the the ruling Al Khalifa family.
But a retrial was initiated on October 23 after prosecutors dropped confessions from the defendants, who had protested that the statements were extracted under torture.
The hearing for the new trial had been adjourned in November.
Most of the staff worked at, or volunteered at, the Salmaniya Medical Centre in Manama that was stormed by security forces in mid-March after they drove protesters out of nearby Pearl Square.
The workers received the heavy jail terms from the military-run National Safety Court, but are now being tried in a civil court.