Doctors Aiding Torture - by Stephen Lendman
In April 2009, a confidential February 2007 ICRC torture report was publicly released. Titled, "ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen 'High Value Detainees' in CIA Custody," it detailed harsh and abusive treatment from their time of arrest, detention, transfer, and incarceration at Guantanamo where ICRC professionals interviewed them.
Besides detailed information on torture and abusive treatment, they obtained damning, consistent detainee accounts of medical personnel involvement, including:
-- their monitoring of and direct participation in torture procedures;
-- instructing interrogators to continue, adjust, or stop certain ones;
-- informing detainees that medical treatment depended on their cooperation;
-- performing medical checks before and after each transfer; and
-- treating the effects of torture as well as ailments and injuries during incarceration.
Condoning or participating in torture grievously breaches medical ethics and the 1975 World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Tokyo "Guidelines for Physicians Concerning Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Relation to Detention and Imprisonment." It states:
-- in all cases at all times, "physician(s) shall not countenance, condone or participate in" torture or any other form of abuse;
-- they "shall not use nor allow to be used (their) medical knowledge or skills, or health information" to aid interrogation in any way;
-- they "shall not be present during any procedure during which torture or any other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is used or threatened;"
-- they "must have complete clinical independence" in treating persons for whom they're medically responsible; and
-- WMA encourages the international community and fellow physicians to support medical professionals who face "threats or reprisals resulting from a refusal to condone" all forms of torture and abuse.
Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states:
"Persons engaged in medical activities shall neither be compelled to perform acts or to carry out work contrary to, nor be compelled to refrain from acts required by, the rules of medical ethics or other rules designed for the benefit of the wounded and sick, or this Protocol."