Posts Tagged ‘farnoosh hashemian’

In the Room

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Farnoosh Hashemian, lead author of Broken Laws, Broken Lives, was recently interviewed for the Yale School of Public Health website.

_DSC9646Farnoosh Hashemian was in the room as one former detainee after another described the abuse inflicted upon them by U.S. personnel during their detention in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The men, who were all eventually released without ever being charged, recounted stories of intimidation and humiliation, and in some cases the most degrading forms of sexual abuse.

Hashemian, a 2005 graduate of the Yale School of Public Health and a human rights investigator for the Cambridge, Mass.–based Physicians for Humans Rights (PHR), used the rigorous, in–depth clinical evaluations as the core of a 130–page report that the organization released this summer. The report provides evidence of officially sanctioned or unsanctioned abuse and accuses the United States of committing war crimes for deliberately torturing detainees in its custody….

“It was very intense work. You listen while a middle–aged man sobs uncontrollably describing the brutality that became normalized in Abu Ghraib. Others tell you that to this day they suffer from the pain and the shame of sexual humiliations. Their families have been broken and their lives have been shattered,” said Hashemian. “You stare at this abyss of unimaginable human cruelty, you witness their agony, immerse yourself in their suffering, and their harrowing stories haunt you at night. We were asking people to go back to dark times. It is really, really hard to hear these stories, but it is grueling to have lived them.” …

Since the report’s release, Hashemian and colleagues have met with staff members of various U.S. senators and are working with policy makers to formulate recommendations for the next administration. In addition to new legislation that would prevent such abuses in the future, PHR also calls for anyone involved in detainee abuse to be held accountable and for reparations to be paid to the victims.

Read the rest of the article.

Nationwide SOP Screening Was a Success!

Monday, October 20th, 2008

On October 6, twenty-seven campuses around the country came together for an evening of film and discussion about the US’s use of torture. The exclusive, nationwide screening of Standard Operating Procedure, followed by a webcasted interview with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris and lead author of PHR’s landmark report Broken Laws, Broken Lives, Farnoosh Hashemian, was a huge success and the first event of its kind. The evening brought together well over a thousand health professional students, posed and answered critical questions, and introduced new ideas for getting involved.

Thank you to all of the campuses who participated, including: Albert Einstein University; Boston University; Brown Medical School; Case Western; Chicago Medical School; Columbia Medical School; Weill Cornell; Dartmouth; Emory; George Washington University School of Medicine; Harvard Medical School; Indiana University; Johns Hopkins; Kansas University; Philadelphia College of Medicine; Rush University; St. George’s University; Tufts University; University of Michigan; University of Minnesota; University of Rochester; University of Texas, San Antonio; University of Texas, Dallas; University of Utah; Washington University; and Wright State.

The event got some attention in the Media & Arts circuit too! Read Errol Morris’ Next Doc To Be Screened For Doctors; It’s About Doctors Too in Media Bistro and Standard Operating Procedure Goes Medical, Digital in Variety.com.

Here are some photos from the event:

We also have the conversation with Morris and Hashemian available to watch and share with your friends here.

There were many more excellent questions submitted than we could answer in the time we had available, so we will have Farnoosh answer some of them in a subsequent blogpost. Please check back for that!

Finally, if you didn’t get the chance to sign the Call to Action petition, you can do so here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us from coast-to-coast to make this an electric night of unified awareness, critical thinking, and passion for human rights.

(Cross-posted on PHR Student Blog.)

Report Author Hashemian on Her Interview with Laith

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

In December 2006, Broken Laws, Broken Lives author Farnoosh Hashemian met a man named Laith.

Laith was arrested in October 2003 and was released from Abu Ghraib in June 2004. During his imprisonment he was subjected to sleep deprivation, electric shocks, different forms of suspension, threats of sexual abuse to himself and family members, and other forms of abuse; the evaluators suspect that he was also subject to sodomy. As a result of his arrest and incarceration, Laith is currently suffering from lasting physical and psychological injuries including major depressive episode, PTSD, and alcohol dependence.

(Broken Laws, Broken Lives, 24)

US Torture of Detainees Caused Severe Pain, Long-Term Suffering

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Cambridge, Mass. (PRWEB) June 18, 2008 – A team of doctors and psychologists convened by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to conduct intensive clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees held in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay has found that these men suffered torture and ill-treatment by US personnel, which resulted in severe pain and long-term disability. The men were ultimately released from US custody without charge or explanation.

“The horrific consequences of US detention and interrogation policy are indelibly written on the bodies and minds of the former detainees in scars, debilitating injuries, humiliating memories and haunting nightmares,” states Dr. Allen Keller, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and a contributor to PHR’s report Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact. “Physical and psychological evidence clearly supports the detainees’ first-hand accounts of cruelty, inhuman treatment, degradation, and torture.”

“The poignant case studies focus on the profound and lasting consequences of cruelty at the hands of US personnel,” said Farnoosh Hashemian, MPH, PHR Research Associate and lead author of the report. “The detainees suffer permanent hearing loss, persistent and debilitating pain in limbs and joints, major depressive disorder, severe post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks.”

One Iraqi detainee, Laith, recounted that during his initial detention in an unknown prison, he was brutally beaten and kicked until he lost consciousness. In Abu Ghraib, he was kept naked for almost a month in a variety of stress positions in isolation in a small, dark cell wearing soiled underwear and was subjected to lengthy interrogations.

On one occasion he was brought to see his brother who was bleeding, naked, and humiliated. The most painful experience for Laith was the threat of rape of his mother and sisters: “They were saying, ‘you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them [here].’”

These men also continue to endure profound disruptions in their social and family lives. Many live with an abiding sense of shame caused by the loss of their ability to protect and provide for their families. And several men told medical evaluators of their desire to relocate, stemming from their loss of a sense of safety, since they had been arrested without charge or to avoid the frequent reminders of their harrowing detention experiences.

The report calls for full investigation and remedies, including accountability for war crimes, and reparation, such as compensation, medical care and psycho-social services.

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