Friday, November 11, 2011

Few Torture Doctors Prosecuted

Doctors who participate in state-sponsored torture should be pursued with civil litigation, says an editorial in The Lancet. Although doctors have become an integral part of contemporary systems of torture, with techniques like such as cramped conīŦnement, dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, they almost never appear in the dock. Research shows that only 56 doctors anywhere have been punished for complicity in torture or crimes against humanity between 1945 and 2009.

Since it is unlikely that doctors who torture will ever be charged by the government which ordered it, the author, Steven J. Hoffman, of McMaster University, in Canada, calls for civil lawsuits followed up by extensive publicity, "lest we perpetuate undeserved impunity". It also suggests that a web-based archive be established so that cases can be documented more thoroughly. ~ The Lancet, Sept 22

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