For Immediate Release
Psychologists Prohibited from Abusive US Detention Centers
Physicians for Human Rights, in response to the prohibition passed
today by the American Psychological Association's (APA) membership on
psychologist participation at detention facilities that do not adhere
to international human rights standards:
"Today PHR salutes the American Psychological Association (APA)
membership for restoring the APA's commitment to human rights and
medical ethics. For years, the APA has failed to fully address US
psychologists' involvement in torture in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, and
CIA black sites. This historic vote has moved the APA closer to joining
the ranks of the American Medical Association and the American
Psychiatric Association, which have repudiated health professional
involvement in interrogations.
"This turn-around follows revelations by the media and Congress of
the central role psychologists played in the design, supervision, and
implementation of a regime of psychological and physical torture
against detainees held in CIA and Department of Defense custody. For
example, CIA psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen have been
implicated in the torture of Abu Zubaydah and others. In addition, a
U.S. Army psychologist, Lt. Colonel Diane M. Zierhoffer, last month
refused to testify about her involvement in the torture of Mohammed
Jawad, an Afghan detainee held at Guantanamo Bay, who was captured as a
juvenile in 2002.
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"Since 2005, PHR has been a leading voice in the campaign to end all
health professional involvement in US national security
interrogations. The Bush Administration's use of the healing
professions as key parts of a wide-spread system of detainee torture
and abuse threatens the very foundations of medical ethics. Today, in
the largest voter turnout in APA history and by a 17% margin, the
membership of the APA struck a blow against medical complicity in
To read more about PHR's Campaign Against Torture, visit www.brokenlives.info
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Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.