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For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights to Testify on Massachusetts Anti-Torture Legislation

09/19/2011

WHO

PHR’s Asylum Program Director, Christy Fujio, and Stephen McElroy, MD, MPH

WHAT

PHR will urge the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to support “An Act to Prohibit the Participation of Health Care Professionals in the Torture and Abusive Treatment of Prisoners H.3361,” which would make clear that Massachusetts-licensed health care professionals who participate in acts of torture and ill treatment should be subject to professional sanctions

WHEN

Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 1-5 p.m.

WHERE

Massachusetts State House, Room B-2, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

WHY

Reports 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 prisoners in US custody. Health care professionals who participated in these activities committed grave violations of professional standards and ethical codes, violated the trust of their patients, diminished the stature of their profession, and committed crimes under US and international law. 

Massachusetts-licensed health care professionals who participate in such abhorrent acts, no matter where those acts occur, should be subject to professional sanctions. This law would help prevent torture and abuse by providing health care professionals with an additional legal basis to resist unlawful and unethical orders.

THE BILL WOULD:

  • Sanction MA-licensed health care professionals who participate in torture and abusive treatment of prisoners, wherever the abuse takes place.
  • Sanction MA-licensed health care professionals who participate in interrogation of prisoners, wherever the interrogation takes place.
  • Require MA-licensed health care professionals to report violations.
  • Help MA-licensed health care professionals resist unlawful orders that could place them at risk of criminal prosecutions and civil liability lawsuits.

 

For more information please contact Megan Prock at mprock@phrusa.org or 617.301.4237.

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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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