Cambridge, Mass. (PRWEB) June 18, 2008 — Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has published a landmark report documenting medical evidence of torture and ill-treatment inflicted on 11 men detained at US facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, who were never charged with any crime. The physical and psychological evaluation of the detainees and documentation of the crimes are based on internationally accepted standards for clinical assessment of torture claims. The report also details the severe physical and psychological pain and long-term disability that has resulted from abusive and unlawful US interrogation practices.

“Rigorous clinical evaluations confirm the enormous and enduring toll of agony and anguish inflicted for months by US personnel on eleven men who were detained without any charge or explanation,” stated PHR President Leonard Rubenstein. “Their first-hand accounts, now confirmed by medical and psychological examinations, take us behind the photographs to write a missing chapter of America’s descent into the shameful practice and official policy of systematic torture.”

Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact documents practices used to bring about excruciating pain, terror, humiliation, and shame for months on end. These practices included, but were not limited to:

  • Suspensions and other stress positions;
  • Routine isolation;
  • Sleep deprivation combined with sensory bombardment and temperature extremes;
  • Sexual humiliation and forced nakedness;
  • Sodomy;
  • Beatings;
  • Denial of medical care;
  • Electric shock;
  • Involuntary medication; and
  • Threats to their lives and families.

In the foreword to the report, Maj. General Antonio Taguba (USA-Ret.), who led the U.S. Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal, wrote: “After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

“Ending the use of torture, while essential, is not enough. The United States government must make this right. Those responsible for these abuses must help heal the grievous harm inflicted in our name,” said PHR CEO Frank Donaghue. “PHR is calling for full investigation, accountability, an official apology, and reparations, including medical and psychological treatment for the survivors.”

RSS feed | Trackback URI


Comment by cuty_1000
2008-06-18 13:41:32

I just don’t understand, why are you so hard on the soldiers that are risking their lifes for all of us. Have you checked how the soldiers get torture when they get capture by terrorit, and or militias. The way the reporter got his head cut off. So, you are telling me the way americans get treated at Iraq, it’s ok!!!!!!!!!!. WHy aren’t you fighting for the rights of you own fellow citizens.

Comment by MajorHuber
2008-06-21 04:37:34

Dear Cuty,
high time you read the articles of impeachment of GWB by Dennis Kucinich ( and please read Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler’s masterpiece ‘War is a racket’. It’s high time that these profit-driven wars stop and events like 9/11 get thoroughly investigated as many patriotic americans ask (see: or

Comment by arcticredriver
2008-06-18 15:51:22

cuty_1000’s comment contains a disastrous misconception. Leaving aside the moral dimension, turning a blind eye to GIs who breach the Uniform Code of Military Justice, by abusing captives does not protect the rights of the public. It does not enhance public safety.

The abuse of captives has eroded public safety.

We have limited resources to devote to counter-terrorism. There are always going to be potential threats we can not find enough resources to counter. So, we have to decide which potential threats are the most important to try to counter.

Abuse of the captives has very seriously polluted the pool of intelligence we rely upon when making decisions about which threats to counter. Guantanamo analysts wrung the captives so severely they would say anything to get the abuse to stop. They did say anything.

We allocated our limited counter-terrorism resources badly, improperly, because we placed credit on the bad intelligence wrung from the captives through abuse.

I am sympathetic to GIs who committed violations of the UCMJ, or other laws, who THOUGHT they were obeying lawful orders. So, hold their officers responsible, or hold Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft responsible, if the chain of responsibilty goes that high.

Comment by Gaston Febus
2008-06-18 20:24:02

Some of those people you’re feeling sorry for either killed or are ready kill you or your loved ones without any remorse, are ready to destroy your home and your country in the name of their religion. There are most likely every day great abuses if not tortures in every US prisons yet nobody is bitching about it yet when some muslim terrorist is mishandled the shit breaks out….
It again shows how some of you Yanks are so naive about the reality of the radical Islam.

Comment by Concerned
2008-06-18 18:22:29

Thank you, PHR, for your reports. This one, and the others, are essential reading on what can only be described as an American shame and tragedy.

To “cuty_1000″ I say two things. First, torture is wrong, no matter who does it. Second, even if we discard our principals as al-Qaeda and others wish, purely practical considerations argue against using torture. It doesn’t yield useful information, and it tends to deepen whatever conflict inspired its use.

The proof of the second statement can be found by looking at U.S. policy and behavior in World War II. The Japanese military was exceptionally brutal, but the United States adhered to the Geneva Conventions and followed a policy of humane treatment toward enemy combatants captured on the battlefield.

There are numerous accounts from by U.S. military personnel attesting to the effectiveness of humane treatment in producing useful, life-saving battlefield information. In short, it is not the winners who torture, it is the losers who do it.

Comment by HowardMorland
2008-06-19 11:46:23

I’m afraid many Americans are pleased to learn that we still torture dark-skinned people, decades after Southern lynching and the tiger cages of Vietnam went out of style. In their view, only human rights sissies refuse to engage in torture.

Comment by ceggli
2008-06-19 13:51:10

Wow . . that’s some statement. Do you know many Americans? I know thousands and no one I know wants to “torture dark skinned people.” Your statement is ridiculous. I just love how people drag out the spectre of racism whenever someone doesn’t agree with them. The bottom line is that we are in a war, like it or not. We did not start the war. The US military is the best trained and best disciplined in the world. I found it very interesting that I went to the trouble to register to download the “full report” and only got the executive summary. I want to see what is in those missing first 127 pages. I’ll keep trying to get them.

Comment by Ben Greenberg
2008-06-19 14:19:48

@ceggli I think you clicked on the wrong link. There are two download links on the home page of this site; one is for the Executive Summary. The other is for the full report. They are clearly marked.

Ben Greenberg
Manager of Online Communications
Physicians for Human Rights

Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)
You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Trackback responses to this post

Physicians for Human Rights, 2 Arrow Street, Suite 301, Cambridge, MA 02138 | brokenlives[at]phrusa[dot]org | Tel 617.301.4219