A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Doctors examine ex-detainees, find conditions consistent with abuse claims

[ Physicians For Human Rights [official website] Wednesday released a report [PDF text; executive summary, PDF] saying that abuse and torture claims made by former detainees held by the US in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq [JURIST news archives] are supported by medical examinations performed by the group. The exams showed that their subjects currently experience numbness and weakness consistent with extended placement in "stress positions" such as suspension or binding; depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions consistent with severe isolation and psychological abuse; and bone and tissue scarring consistent with specific claims of physical and sexual assault. The group cautioned that they were only able to examine and interview 11 former detainees, so their conclusions may not apply to all those in US custody. They went on to emphasize that their findings are consistent with other claims of abuse [JURIST news archive] made by those not included in the sample. AP has more.

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch issued a report [HRW materials; JURIST report] saying that detainees at Guantanamo Bay faced severe isolation and conditions worse than those in a super-max prison. In May the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a report [PDF text; JURIST report] on what role its officers played in allegedly abusive interrogations at US detention centers abroad. In March, it was reported [AP report; JURIST report] that top officials in President Bush's administration approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques including water-boarding [JURIST news archive] on terrorism suspects.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.