December 8, 2022

Action needed on US doctors’ involvement in torture

Human rights activist Leonard Rubenstein has called for the release of a report on CIA torture which sheds light on doctors’ participation.

Human rights activist Leonard Rubenstein has called for the release of the report on CIA torture of detainees compiled by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). The report, a 6000-page account of the use of ‘enhanced torture techniques’ under the Bush administration, was completed in 2012, but has so far been withheld from the public due to CIA claims of factual inaccuracy.

Rubenstein, a former president of Physicians for Human Rights, believes it imperative that a revised version be released. It will enable Congress and the medical community to address the participation of medical personnel in torture:

“The Senate’s report probably will shed more light on the CIA’s shameful enlistment of doctors in the torture of detainees, a profound violation of the doctors’ duty to do no harm. By doing so, it can awaken the medical community and Congress to the need to devise mechanisms to ensure respect for what turn out to be very fragile norms.”

Rubenstein served on an independent task force that identified the roles played by psychologists and physicians in ‘enhanced torture’.  The involved medical personnel developed and promoted interrogation methods such as sensory deprivation, isolation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

Xavier Symons
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