In light of today’s release of Physicians for Human Rights’ new report, Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program (www.nrcat.org/PHRtorturepapers), the local religious leaders listed below have joined with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in responding with the following statement:
“As religious leaders we commend Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) for their groundbreaking work uncovering and documenting evidence of the involvement of United States military and intelligence health professionals in performing experiments, without consent, on detainees in the custody of the U.S. following September 2001.
Such experimentation would violate the legal and ethical protections afforded by the Nuremberg Code, the Geneva Conventions, federal regulations governing human subject research—known as “The Common Rule”—and the federal War Crimes Act.
We have adamantly opposed and consistently spoken out against U.S.-sponsored torture. Torture is immoral and abhorrent, violating the teachings of all our religious traditions.
Just as adamantly, we now condemn these alleged acts of illegal and immoral experimentation. Separate and distinct from the torture, such medical experiments could themselves constitute war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
With painstaking care, the PHR report details how the experiments and the participation of health professionals in the interrogations of detainees were critical components for the fabrication of a legal framework construed to protect interrogators from prosecution for committing acts of torture. The experiments also served to refine the illegal torture practices used by the U.S. government.
These revelations are profoundly disturbing and raise for us the question of what more remains hidden. The spiritual health of our nation will continue to suffer until the full truth opens a path to the justice and healing that our nation so desperately needs.
With heavy hearts and a keen sense of urgency, we call upon the President and the Congress to establish a Commission of Inquiry to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the use of torture – including its use in medical experiments on detainees – and to pursue the steps required to ensure that U.S.-sponsored torture will never, ever, again be sanctioned and practiced.”
– Rev. Dr. Allie Perry, Vice President, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Worship Coordinator, Shalom United Church of Christ, New Haven
– Rabbi Herbert N. Brockman, PhD, Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden
– Reza Mansoor, MD, FACC, Cardiologist, Hartford Hospital; President, Muslim Coalition of Connecticut; Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Hartford Seminary and advisor to the chaplaincy program at Hartford Hosital
– Rev. Dr. Emilie M. Townes, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology, Yale University Divinity School