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For Immediate Release

PHR Urges That Findings of Newly Adopted Report on US Interrogation Be Made Public

Cambridge, MA - 12/13/2012

PHR applauds today’s decision by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to adopt a report documenting its three-year investigation of CIA interrogation practices—and calls on the committee to submit it for declassification review so that the public learns the report’s key findings.

The report, which examines the so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques used by the George W. Bush administration as part of its “war on terror” following 9/11, is believed to show that such torture was ineffective in countering security threats to the United States. According to Sen. John McCain, an ex officio member of the Intelligence Committee, the report shows “that the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is not only wrong in principle and a stain on our country’s conscience, but also an ineffective and unreliable means of gathering intelligence.

“The committee’s report could be a key step in finally removing torture from the toolkit of US government intelligence gathering,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor. “Now we must use the committee’s findings to seek accountability for the harm caused by torture and to ensure that such techniques are never used again.”

In the past decade, PHR has produced several reports on the use of torture in US-operated detention centers, including by health professionals, and has called on Congress to investigate the extent of US practices that resulted in the torture and abuse of hundreds of detainees. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report is the fullest examination to date by Congress into US torture practices.

Following today’s 9-6 vote to adopt the report, the Committee must now decide whether to submit it for a review that could lead to making parts of it public. 

PHR urges the committee to make public those parts of the report concerning the use of torture. The American public must know what interrogation practices have been employed by the CIA.

“We have a right to know what practices were carried out in our name,” said Kristine Huskey, who directs PHR’s Anti-Torture Program. “If this report is made public, Americans will understand not only what has been done in the past, but also how to forge ahead in ways that protect our national security without sacrificing precious human rights.”

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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