MICHELE NORRIS: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris. In Bahrain, the government has shut down the offices of the international medical aid group, Doctors Without Borders. It's known there by the acronym of its French name, MSF. The group had been aiding protesters who were injured in clashes with security forces. And NPR's Kelly McEvers was in Bahrain when the government moved against MSF. She reports the trouble began about two weeks ago.
KELLY MCEVERS: Here's Mahdi's lawyer, Reem Khalaf, a few days after he was arrested.
REEM KHALAF: All that I knew from the newspapers is that he said, yes, I did that. Of course, after maybe after beating him or maybe he didn't even say it. Maybe they just said that he said it.
MCEVERS: MSF says it was providing a service for people too afraid to seek help in such a hospital. The government says it was unaware MSF was operating in Bahrain. MSF spokesman Jerome Oberreit disputes that claim.
JEROME OBERREIT: We've systematically been transparent with the Bahraini authorities about our presence in Bahrain. On numerous occasions, have submitted proposals to run actually formal clinics, to be able to follow patients to hospital. And while they've received these proposals, they've never actually been answered to.
MCEVERS: Mansoor al-Jamri used to edit Bahrain's only independent newspaper. He was forced from his job during the crackdown, after being accused of printing false information. Jamri says despite the government's recent efforts to remake its image - hiring PR firms, launching a national dialogue, and inviting legal experts to investigate wrongdoing - it's cases like this that show officials are not serious about reconciliation.
MANSOOR AL: We would like to see a brave government brave in the sense that it will face up to the mistakes that had been committed in Bahrain, and to reconcile the situation directly with the people. Any maneuvering will only waste time, waste energy, and also possibly lose Bahrain the opportunity to recover.
MCEVERS: Kelly McEvers, NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.