Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

PHR to Testify on New York Anti-Torture Legislation

Cambridge, Mass. - 11/10/2011

WHO: Kristine Huskey, Director, PHR’s Anti-Torture Program

WHAT: New York State Senator Thomas Duane has invited PHR to testify at a public forum designed to address accusations of medical professionals’ participation in torture and “enhanced interrogation” as well as to analyze the potential impacts and implementation of proposed legislative responses. The forum will also explore the legal, regulatory and ethical obligations of medical professionals relating to torture and enhanced interrogation techniques

WHEN: Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 11 a.m. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

WHERE: Senate Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, New York

WHY: Since 2005, PHR has been investigating and reporting on the use of psychological torture to “break” detainees in US custody in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo.

Reports by the United States Senate Armed Services Committee, the Inspector General for the CIA, and the International Committee for the Red Cross have confirmed that doctors and psychologists were essential to the design, implementation, and rationalization of a system of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of US detainees.

PHR has also reported on the participation of health professionals in use of torture techniques, such as excessive isolation, forced nudity, stress positions, sleep deprivation, temperature manipulation, confinement, and waterboarding.

Other witnesses include:

  • Dr. Allen Keller (Director, NYU Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture)
  • Dr. Stephen Xenakis (Brigadier General (Ret.), Center for Transnational Medicine)
  • Gary Aumiller  (Executive Director, Society for Police and Criminal Psychology)
  • James Cullen (Brigadier General (Ret.), United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps)
  • Dr. June Feder  (Legislative Chair, NYS Psychological Association)
  • Richard N. Gottfried (New York State Assembly Member)
  • Taylor Pendergrass (Senior Staff Attorney, NYCLU)
  • Kathy Roberts (Attorney, Center for Justice and Accountability)
  • Rebecca Schleifer (Advocacy Director, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch)

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

PHR News