Broken Laws, Broken Lives has been getting major coverage from pretty much the instant of its release. In addition to the AP wire story:

  • Report: Exams reveal abuse, torture of detainee (CNN)
  • Human rights group says it has proof of detainee abuse (Boston Globe)

Daily Kos blogger Metor Blades gave PHR’s new report fulsome coverage on the front page of the most trafficked political blog on the internet.

It is impossible to escape a mixture of sadness and fury while reading the 149 horrific pages of the just-released report published by Physicians for Human Rights and called Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by the US. Sadness for the victims. Fury for the fact that American citizens have paid for the ghastly criminal acts of guards and interrogators at U.S.-run prisons in Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, and Afghanistan. Sadness that Americans are now seen as torturers worldwide. Fury that high officials who ordered these acts are not digging holes and filling them up every day on some penal atoll.

The torture those officials authorized has been revealed over the years in bits and pieces. We’ve seen the photographs. Newspaper stories, magazine articles and a dozen books have been written. There have been previous scathing reports, including two by PHR. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have delved into the matter. There was, of course, the Army’s 2004 investigation into what happened at Abu Ghraib. And, better late than never, Senator Carl Levin began presiding Tuesday over three days of hearings on the subject, Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody.

For the first time, however, Broken Laws, Broken Lives has added grim evidence gleaned from medical tests, both physical and psychological, of 11 former detainees. Unique stories, but with a theme that cannot – and must not – be ignored. The evidence was gathered and evaluated under strict internationally recognized standards and procedures for determining whether someone has been tortured or ill-treated and for documenting the consequences in a manner so that the results can be used in court. These standards are part of the Istanbul Protocol, Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the United Nations in 1999.

Towards his conclusion, Blades reflects:

Broken Laws, Broken Lives makes for nightmare reading. But it is imperative that it be read. And acted upon.

You can download free copies of the full report or the Executive Summary on the home page of this site.

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