This is an urgent opportunity for action for residents of California who are concerned about the role of psychologists and other health professionals in torture and abuse of U.S. detainees.
A broad coalition of health, human rights, and legal organizations in California are working to encourage the State of California to:
Notify all state-licensed health professionals of their legal and professional obligations not to participate in torture.
Notify them that participants in torture may be subject to prosecution.
Request that the U.S. Department of Defense and the CIA remove all California-licensed health professionals, including psychologists, from participating in prisoner interrogations.
If you would like to know more about this initiative, or sign a related online petition, go to the following web page, posted by the American Friends Service Committee:
The California State Senate will be holding a hearing on Monday afternoon, Jan. 14th, on a proposed resolution on this matter. Contact the California State Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, at 916-651-4104, for more information about that resolution and hearing.
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LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
as introduced, Ridley-Thomas.
General Subject: Health professionals: torture.
This measure would request all relevant California agencies to notify
California-licensed health professionals about their professional obligations under international law relating to torture and the treatment of detainees, as specified, and to also notify those professionals that those who participate in torture, among other forms of treatment, may be subject to prosecution. In addition, the measure would request the United States Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency to remove all California-licensed health professionals from participating in prisoner and detainee interrogations
Fiscal committee: yes.
WHEREAS, Health professionals licensed in California, including, but not limited to, physicians, osteopaths, psychologists, psychiatric workers, and nurses, have and continue to serve nobly and honorably in the armed services of the United States; and
WHEREAS, United States Army regulations and the War Crimes Act and, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) require that all military personnel report and not engage in acts of abuse or torture; and
WHEREAS, CAT defines the term “torture” as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity”; and