Since 1997, every June 26 has marked the annual United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Millions of people around the world, including an estimated 500,000 in the United States, are struggling with the impact of horrific acts intentionally inflicted on them.
A medical expert in the Asylum Network of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) provided key testimony contributing to a significant ruling in Ohio last month in which a federal judge held that a former Somali security official was responsible for ordering the arrest and torture of a Somali law professor more than 20 years ago.
Retired Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who grew up on Oahu and was assigned to investigate prisoner abuses at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, will be appearing Sunday at the Veterans Day Memorial at the Makawao Veterans Cemetery and at the We Love Veterans Maui luncheon in Kahului. He retired from the Army in 2007, and the next year he accused the Bush administration of war crimes in a report by Physicians for Human Rights.
In fall 2009, I found myself in a Tanzanian hotel lobby, sitting across from Suleiman Abdallah, a lanky man with a goofy smile and a broken tooth. Over the next few days, he would describe in excruciating detail how he had been captured in Mogadish in 2003 by a Somali warlord and handed over to American officials, who had him rendered via Kenya and Djibouti to Afghanistan for five years of detention and torture.
In the News
PHR announced today that Senator Dianne Feinstein submitted PHR testimony from Dr. Scott Allen at a crucial Senate hearing on indefinite detention. Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was focused on Senator Feinstein’s recent bill, “The Due Process Guarantee Act,” which is an attempt to counteract the authorization of indefinite detention which was legislated by the US Congress and signed into law by the President on December 31, 2011.