Medical torture

Medical torture describes the involvement of, or sometimes instigation by, medical personnel in acts of torture, either to judge what victims can endure, to apply treatments which will enhance torture, or as torturers in their own right. Medical torture overlaps with medical interrogation if it involves the use of professional medical expertise to facilitate interrogation or corporal punishment, in the conduct of torturous human experimentation or in providing professional medical sanction and approval for the torture of prisoners. Medical torture also covers torturous scientific (or pseudo-scientific) experimentation upon unwilling human subjects.

Medical ethics and international law

It is generally accepted that medical torture fundamentally violates medical ethics, which all medical practitioners are expected to adhere to.

There remain gaps in regulation relating to medical torture in many countries:

Asserted instances

Asserted medical or professional complicity

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights' When Healers Harm campaign, health professionals were complicit in the torture and abuse of detainees during U.S. President George W. Bush's "war on terror". Health professionals, including medical doctors, psychiatrists, medical examiners, psychologists, and nurses, have been implicated in the torture and abuse of prisoners in CIA secret prisons and military detention centers, such as those in Guantánamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Among other things, health professionals are accused of:

To date, no state licensing boards or professional associations have investigated – or recognized, in some cases – abusive conduct by individual members of their professions. In 2009, after years of denial, the American Psychological Association finally recognized that psychologists had engaged in torture. However, the American Psychological Association has not recognized that psychologists were involved in the Bush Administration’s torture policy. Some criticize the APA for failing to respond to allegations of “collusion between APA officials and the national security apparatus in providing ethical cover for psychologists’ participation in detainee abuse."[7]

Although the American Medical Association has made clear that physicians should not be involved in interrogations of any kind, it continues to insist that it has “no specific knowledge of doctors being involved in abuse or torture,” despite evidence to the contrary, including government documents and Office of Legal Counsel memos, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross and multiple accounts by survivors.[8][9]

Some other accounts of medical or professional complicity in torture include:

In fiction

See also



External links

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