May 29, 2024

US psychiatrists accused of unethical treatment of prisoners

Human rights group criticises US government about Bradley Manning

A doctors’ human rights organisation has criticised US military psychiatrists, saying that they are not fulfilling their duty to protect military prisoners from torture. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), based in Massachusetts, says that military psychiatrists are complicit in the torture of imprisoned soldier Bradley Manning. Private Manning, allegedly the source of the WikiLeaks cables, has been detained for 9 months in solitary confinement in a military brig.

Manning has not even been tried but has reportedly been subjected to sleep deprivation and humiliation. Guards check every five minutes to ensure that he does not self-harm. Bioethicist Steven Miles,  of the University of Minnesota, told the BMJ that the psychiatrists who recommended lifting the “prevention of injury” order have failed in their duty to protect Private Manning by not taking the issue further.

Christy Fujio, a PHR lawyer, says that in the US there are “numerous loyalty conflicts for health practitioners torn between acting in their patients’ best interests and serving the mission and needs of the US government.” ~ BMJ 2011; 342:d1792

US psychiatrists accused of unethical treatment of prisoners
Jared Yee