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For Immediate Release

Maine Doctors Urge Senate to Release Torture Report

Physicians for Human Rights campaign asks medical professionals to join call to Senate Intelligence Committee to tell the truth on torture

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

Media Relations Manager, New York
Tel: 917-679-0110

Bangor, Maine - 03/18/2014

In an effort to press Maine senators Susan Collins and Angus King to support the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture, medical professionals have launched a statewide campaign calling on them to vote in support of releasing this critical information.

The effort by doctors from across the state is part of a larger national initiative led by Physicians for Human Rights to encourage health workers to press their senators to vote in favor of release of the report. In what has become a national call for the public airing of the facts contained in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, Maine has taken on added importance as the only state with both senators serving on the committee. The committee is likely to vote by the end of this month on releasing its report, still classified since being approved on December 13, 2012.

As part of the campaign, large advertisements ask Collins and King to “use your important votes in the Senate Intelligence Committee to make the report on CIA practices public.” Ads were published in the Saturday, March 15, Bangor Daily News and the Monday, March 17, Portland Press-Herald, and online ads take over the homepage of today’s Bangor Daily News. Ads are also running through March 26 on nytimes.com targeted to readers in Maine.

The message conveyed in the ads reads, in part: “The U.S. government must shine a light on any violations committed under our government’s authority and share those findings with its citizens … The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogation and detention practices … is believed to include previously unknown details about the extent of torture and its negative ramifications for U.S. national security. A public airing of past abuses will not only help the medical community address its complicity in harming detainees, but will also encourage the United States as a nation to end the use of abusive practices. Our body politic can only heal if we eradicate abuses and prevent these crimes from happening again.”

“Medical professionals have joined a growing chorus of voices demanding transparency by asking for the torture report to be released,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, Physicians for Human Rights’ senior medical advisor. “The American public needs to learn about the horrific mistakes our government has committed by engaging in torture in order to ensure that people’s fundamental rights are not violated again.”

The full campaign can be found here, and the message is being publicized via #ItWasTorture on Facebook and Twitter.

Physicians for Human Rights is committed to investigating and reporting on the devastating consequences of torture on individuals, institutions and society. In response to U.S. personnel’s systematic infliction of psychological and physical torture against detainees, the organization seeks to urge the implementation of the U.S. commitment against torture, to ensure humane treatment of detainees, and to protect U.S. health personnel from complicity in mistreatment and harm.

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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