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For Immediate Release

Crucial Senate Hearing on Indefinite Detention Includes PHR Testimony

Cambridge, Mass. - 02/29/2012

PHR announced today that Senator Dianne Feinstein submitted PHR testimony [pdf] 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.  

Authored by PHR’s Medical Advisor, Dr. Scott Allen, the testimony is based on important findings from the groundbreaking report, Punishment Before Justice: Indefinite Detention in the US,” which showed that the uncertainty, unpredictability, and uncontrollability of indefinite detention causes severe harms in healthy individuals. In the report, PHR calls on the United States to abolish all policies mandating or permitting indefinite detention.

“PHR’s report makes a clear case for ending the damaging practice of indefinite detention,” said Hans Hogrefe, Chief Policy Officer at PHR. “We are honored that critical findings from our report documenting the harmful psychological and physical effects of indefinite detention have been included in this important hearing, which we hope will be the beginning of necessary changes to this policy.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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