In a statement that was released on Saturday, the 20 doctors and nurses appealed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for an investigation into their case and the abuse they are subject to while in custody.

The medical personnel were sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison on Thursday.

The Bahraini authorities charged the medical workers with using hospitals for anti-government activities, possession of weapons, and theft of medical equipment – claims they denied. The medical workers say the government is only punishing them for treating people who took part in demonstrations.

“During the times of unrest in Bahrain, we honored our medical oath to treat the wounded and save lives. And as a result, we are being rewarded with unjust and harsh sentences,” they said in a statement on Saturday.

“Our sentences were preordained,” the statement further read, adding that, “The trials we have been going through are nothing but a playing card in a game of politics … Our only crime was that during the unrest earlier this year we were outspoken witnesses to the bloodshed and the brutal treatment by the security forces.”

On Friday, the UN chief expressed “deep concern” over the harsh sentences, calling for the release of all political detainees in Bahrain.

Since mid-February, anti-government protesters have been staging regular demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the peaceful protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the crackdown in Bahrain.

Physicians for Human Rights say doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, and even disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.

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