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US Torture

In early 2003, when reports of torture by US military personnel began to surface publicly, PHR committed to investigating allegations of US torture, advocating against its practice and mobilizing health professionals to advocate for an end to these abuses.

As evidence of US national security interrogation practices emerged, it became clear that psychologically abusive methods of interrogation were at the core of US intelligence gathering.

In response to US personnel's systematic infliction of psychological and physical torture against detainees, PHR seeks to restore the US commitment against torture, to ensure humane treatment of detainees, and to protect US health personnel from complicity in mistreatment and harm.

More about PHR's work in stopping torture and bringing about accountability:

>> Psychological and Physical Torture

>> PHR's Papers and Reports on US Torture

>> MA and NY Legislation to Sanction Health Professionals Who Torture

U.S. Government Releases Photos of Detainee Abuse at U.S. Military Facilities (February 5, 2016)

The U.S. government released 198 photos relating to detainee abuse at U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, but continued to withhold most of approximately 2,000 photos depicting prisoner ill-treatment that had been requested by the ACLU.

U.S. Government Must Release Guantánamo Force-Feeding Tapes (January 22, 2016)

PHR denounced the U.S. government’s latest move to block the release of tapes showing force-feeding at Guantánamo, calling it a patent effort to conceal this unlawful and unethical practice from the public.

A Year After Torture Report, Impunity Persists (December 9, 2015)

The U.S. government must investigate and prosecute all those responsible for the CIA’s unlawful torture program, provide redress to victims, and release the full Senate torture report, PHR said in a briefing paper.

PHR Welcomes APA’s Call to Remove Psychologists from Guantánamo and National Security Interrogations (October 30, 2015)

PHR welcomed the American Psychological Association’s request that the U.S. government withdraw all psychologists from national security interrogation roles and from Guantánamo Bay and other detention settings that operate in violation of international law.

More Torture News »

The Human Cost of Guantánamo (January 7, 2016)

This month marks the 14th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay detention center, the most visible symbol of U.S. torture and injustice around the world. President Obama has called the prison a “sad chapter in American history.” Unfortunately, Guantánamo is still open – and so is this sad chapter.

Guantánamo: A Badge of Shame (January 7, 2016)

Fourteen years ago, the U.S. government opened Guantánamo Bay detention facility in an effort to create a place beyond the reach of the law and the Constitution -- a place where the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment could be violated with impunity. Today, the consequences of that pernicious move are being felt in every corner of the United States.

The Shamefully Unfinished Story of the CIA Torture Program (December 9, 2015)

One year ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee released part of its massive report documenting the brutality and lawlessness of the CIA torture program. Yet 12 months later, those who designed, ordered, and carried out this deliberate and systematic effort to destroy human beings remain – shamefully – unaccountable for their crimes.

An $81 Million Betrayal of Medical Ethics (October 14, 2015)

Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen designed and implemented a torture program for the CIA for more than $1 million each, $5 million in indemnity against legal liability, and $81 million for the firm they established - Mitchell, Jessen, & Associates.

More Torture Posts »

Truth Matters: Accountability for CIA Psychological Torture (December 2015)

One year after the Senate torture report’s partial release, transparency and accountability – let alone redress to victims – remain stalled. The U.S. government must end the cover-up of torture and ill-treatment and honor its obligation to investigate and prosecute those responsible.

Preliminary Statement on the Hoffman Report (August 2015)

PHR’s statement outlines key findings of the Hoffman report and provides recommendations for accountability, policy reform, and justice.

Letter to APA Leadership on Prohibiting Psychologists' Participation in Interrogations (July 2015)

PHR's executive director sent a letter to leaders of the American Psychological Association supporting recommendations on prohibiting psychologists’ participation in interrogations.

Navy Nurse Press Call (May 2015)

Physicians for Human Rights commends the U.S. Navy’s decision not to discharge the nurse who refused to participate in the force-feeding of Guantánamo detainees.

More Torture Research »

Our Work

Broken Laws, Broken Lives

PHR's report details for the first time medical evidence confirming first-hand accounts of men who endured torture by US personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay. These men were never charged with any crime. Read More »