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Torture Investigations

PHR uses forensic science to investigate, document, and advocate against torture of US-held detainees, and through its Asylum Program, to conduct medical and psychological forensic evaluations of survivors of torture and abuse who seek asylum in the US.

Current Investigations:

Trump Administration Must Preserve Copies of Senate Torture Report (June 2, 2017)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) objects to the Trump Administration’s move to return to Congress copies of the Senate’s 2014 report on the CIA’s torture program.

PHR Unveils Anti-Torture Pledge for Health Professionals (May 18, 2017)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today launched a pledge for health professionals across the United States to stand together in their rejection of torture, voicing the consensus that torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited in all circumstances.

U.S. Justice Department Must Investigate American Psychological Association’s Role in U.S. Torture Program (July 10, 2015)

PHR called for a federal criminal probe into the American Psychological Association’s (APA) role in the U.S. torture program following the release of a damning new report that confirms the APA colluded with the Bush administration to enable psychologists to design, implement, and defend a program of torture.

Physicians for Human Rights Releases Expert Analysis of CIA Torture Report, Calls for Federal Commission to Hold Health Professionals Accountable (December 16, 2014)

Health professionals played an essential role at every stage of the CIA’s torture program, committing at least eight violations of ethics and law, PHR said today in an analysis of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report summary on CIA torture.

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The Need for Transparency in U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices (April 1, 2014)

This week, a group of senators will have the ability to move forward and acknowledge the U.S. government’s use of torture and prevent future abuse.

Calculating the Immeasurable: Somali Torture Victim Wins $15 Million in Civil Damages (August 23, 2013)

This week an Ohio judge awarded $15 million to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, a Somali constitutional law professor and human rights advocate, following a civil trial in which a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) volunteer doctor delivered testimony crucial to the case.

Anti-Torture Update: Take Action to End Torture (January 3, 2013)

January 11, 2013, marks the 11th anniversary of the day detainees were first brought to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The National Defense Authorization Act 2013 (NDAA) recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama does little to shut down the Guantanamo prison, though the President had promised to close it almost four years ago.

Uzbekistan’s ‘House of Torture’ Is No ‘Home Sweet Home’ (August 17, 2012)

Uzbekistan, already notorious for its deplorable prison conditions and abuse of prisoners, has one prison that stands out more gruesome and horrific than the rest: Jaslyk Prison. Its prisoners, at least those lucky enough to live to tell their tales, have described the myriad methods of torture used at the prison, including sexual assault, needles forced under prisoners’ fingernails, electric shock, and long periods of isolation in solitary confinement without food or drink.

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Urgent Need for Independent International Inquiry on Yemen (August 2017)

PHR urges permanent representatives of member and observer states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to support the creation of an independent international investigation into violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Yemen since the start of the current conflict.

Joint Letter to Mattis, Pompeo and McCabe. Re: US Cooperation with Abusive Allied Forces in Yemen (August 2017)

We, the undersigned human rights, civil liberties, and religious organizations, write to urge you to make public to the fullest extent possible without disclosing sources and methods, any reviews conducted by your agencies into allegations that US-allied forces of the United Arab Emirates and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have been responsible for serious abuses in Yemen.

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.

Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program (December 2014)

This analysis by PHR of the SSCI report’s executive summary builds on years of investigation and research documenting the systematic use of torture by the United States.

More Torture Investigations Research »

Featured Investigation

Honduras: Constitutional Crisis and Coup D’état (2009)

In 2009, Honduran President Zelaya's attempt to reform the constitution was seen as a threat by the military and legislative branch. It was thought Zelaya would attempt to eliminate presidential term limits, so on June 28 he was overthrown in a coup. Read More »

Featured Expert

Scott Allen, MD

Scott A. Allen, MD, FACP

Dr. Scott Allen serves as medical advisor to PHR on our work in stopping torture and was lead medical author of PHR's reports “Experiments in Torture,” “Aiding Torture,” and “Leave No Marks.” Read More »