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Torture Investigations

PHR uses forensic science to investigate, document, and advocate against torture of US-held detainees, and through its Asylum Program, to conduct medical and psychological forensic evaluations of survivors of torture and abuse who seek asylum in the US.

Current Investigations:

Physicians for Human Rights Releases Expert Analysis of CIA Torture Report, Calls for Federal Commission to Hold Health Professionals Accountable (December 16, 2014)

Health professionals played an essential role at every stage of the CIA’s torture program, committing at least eight violations of ethics and law, PHR said today in an analysis of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report summary on CIA torture.

U.S. Senate Report Confirms Health Professionals’ Complicity in CIA Torture (December 9, 2014)

In the wake of the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is calling for accountability for all those who designed, authorized, implemented, and enabled the systematic torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

Senate Report Confirms Ethical Breaches of Health Professionals in CIA Torture Program (April 11, 2014)

The leaked summary of the findings from the Senate Select Intelligence Committee's report confirm previous reporting by PHR: The CIA enlisted health professionals to use their skills to destroy the minds of prisoners, breaking with longstanding ethical and legal obligations of health professionals.

Medical Professionals Welcome Senate Decision to Share the Truth on CIA Torture (April 3, 2014)

PHR welcomed today’s bipartisan decision by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) to declassify the executive summary and 20 findings and conclusions in the committee’s report on CIA detention and interrogation practices.

More Torture Investigations News »

The Need for Transparency in U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices (April 1, 2014)

This week, a group of senators will have the ability to move forward and acknowledge the U.S. government’s use of torture and prevent future abuse.

Calculating the Immeasurable: Somali Torture Victim Wins $15 Million in Civil Damages (August 23, 2013)

This week an Ohio judge awarded $15 million to Abukar Hassan Ahmed, a Somali constitutional law professor and human rights advocate, following a civil trial in which a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) volunteer doctor delivered testimony crucial to the case.

Anti-Torture Update: Take Action to End Torture (January 3, 2013)

January 11, 2013, marks the 11th anniversary of the day detainees were first brought to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The National Defense Authorization Act 2013 (NDAA) recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama does little to shut down the Guantanamo prison, though the President had promised to close it almost four years ago.

Uzbekistan’s ‘House of Torture’ Is No ‘Home Sweet Home’ (August 17, 2012)

Uzbekistan, already notorious for its deplorable prison conditions and abuse of prisoners, has one prison that stands out more gruesome and horrific than the rest: Jaslyk Prison. Its prisoners, at least those lucky enough to live to tell their tales, have described the myriad methods of torture used at the prison, including sexual assault, needles forced under prisoners’ fingernails, electric shock, and long periods of isolation in solitary confinement without food or drink.

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Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program (December 2014)

This analysis by PHR of the SSCI report’s executive summary builds on years of investigation and research documenting the systematic use of torture by the United States.

Fact Sheet: Rectal Hydration and Rectal Feeding (December 2014)

In light of the release of the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on CIA enhanced interrogation techniques - which stated that rectal hydration or feeding was inflicted on at least five detainees - PHR compiled this fact sheet on rectal hydration and rectal feeding.

PHR Joins Letter Urging White House to Lead in Declassifying Torture Report (April 2014)

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) joins seven other organizations in calling on President Obama and the White House staff to lead the declassification process of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. The letter emphasizes that the United States must reckon with the past in order to prevent torture in the future. Releasing the committee’s report is a foundational step in that process.

Impunity in Honduras (February 2014)

PHR sent a team of forensic experts to Honduras to investigate cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment by the country’s security forces that had occurred in the aftermath of the 2009 coup d’état.

More Torture Investigations Research »

Featured Investigation

Honduras: Constitutional Crisis and Coup D’état (2009)

In 2009, Honduran President Zelaya's attempt to reform the constitution was seen as a threat by the military and legislative branch. It was thought Zelaya would attempt to eliminate presidential term limits, so on June 28 he was overthrown in a coup. Read More »

Featured Expert

Scott Allen, MD

Scott A. Allen, MD, FACP

Dr. Scott Allen serves as medical advisor to PHR on our work in stopping torture and was lead medical author of PHR's reports “Experiments in Torture,” “Aiding Torture,” and “Leave No Marks.” Read More »