ACLU Calls on American Psychological Association to Ban Torture

August 17, 2007

(Updated 8/20/2007)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union today called on the American Psychological Association (APA), which is holding its annual meeting in San Francisco this weekend, to prohibit its members from participating in coercive interrogations. The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to the APA today from Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

"Since 2003, the ACLU has been engaged in a series of Freedom of Information Act requests related to torture, coercive interrogation, and mistreatment of detainees. We have found troubling evidence of the collusion of medical psychologists in the development and implementation of procedures intended to inflict psychological harm on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and other facilities.

"We hope that the APA will take into account that the participation of psychologists in cruel, inhuman, and degrading interrogation of detainees is not only unethical but illegal, and may subject APA members to legal liability or even prosecution. A moratorium on participation in these illegal interrogations would protect individual psychologists as well as the reputation of the profession as a whole.

"The history of torture is inexorably linked to the misuse of scientific and medical knowledge. As we move fully into the 21st century, it is no longer enough to denounce or to speak out against torture; rather, we must sever the connection between healers and tormentors once and for all. As guardians of the mind, psychologists are duty bound to promote the humane treatment of all people. We strongly urge the APA to adopt the strongest possible stance and issue a moratorium on the participation of its members in abusive treatment."

The full letter is available here:
www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/31349lgl20070817.html

For more information on the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request, go to www.aclu.org/torturefoia

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