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BMA demands investigation into doctor's death in custody

The BMA has written to the Syrian authorities to express deep concern over the death of a doctor earlier this year while in custody.

osamaOsama Baroudi (pictured right) died at the age of 37 after being held in several detention centres following his arrest in February last year for helping coordinate medical relief efforts for people injured during the Syrian uprising.

He was held without trial and, according to sources such as Amnesty International, there is plausible evidence to suggest he and another doctor Mahmoud al Refaal were being tortured repeatedly by Syrian intelligence authorities in Damascus.

The BMA believes that Dr Baroudi, who was co-founder for the Union for Free Doctors in Syria, was also not receiving appropriate treatment for several chronic health conditions.

BMA director of professional activities Vivienne Nathanson has written to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the country’s UN representative His Excellency Bashar Ja’afari calling for his death to be investigated.

She writes: ‘The BMA is deeply concerned by the Syrian government’s continued flouting of international human rights standards, including rights to a fair trial and its complete disrespect for the principle of medical neutrality.

‘The BMA therefore urges the Syrian government to commission an immediate independent investigation into the death of Dr Baroudi, and to ensure the fundamental human rights of all people detained under its jurisdiction.’

Information published in the BMJ indicates that 17 medical professionals have died or been executed in Syria detention since March 2011.

The World Medical Association passed an emergency resolution in October that calls upon all parties in the Syrian conflict to ensure the safety of healthcare personnel and their patients, as well as medical facilities and medical transport.

See what the BMA is doing on human rights