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US Army psychologists, medics supported 'abusive' interrogations after 2003 ban: ACLU

[JURIST] US military personnel - including Army psychologists and medics - continued to use or support "abusive" interrogation tactics even after such methods were prohibited by a 2003 memorandum, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] said Wednesday. According to documents [materials; press release] obtained by the ACLU pursuant to a 2004 Freedom of Information Act request, psychologists and medical staff were involved in interrogations the ACLU says violated their legal responsibilities and professional ethics. The documents also indicate that US medical staff at installations including Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] in Iraq failed to report potential instances of abusive interrogations.

The documents obtained by the ACLU included previously redacted information from the so-called Church Report [JURIST report], a 2005 review of US prisoner interrogation practices conducted by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church. The Pentagon released [JURIST report] an executive summary [text] and other details [DOD briefing transcript] of the review in March 2005, in association with Church's testimony [PBS Newshour report] before the US Senate Armed Services Committee. The investigation began after several photos and reports of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib circulated in the spring of 2004. AP has more.

In August last year the American Psychological Association (APA) [official website] voted against a measure [JURIST report] that would have prevented its members from participating in interrogations of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and other military prisons where suspects have been tortured. The APA instead passed a resolution stating that the association opposes the use of torture and specifying what practices it finds particularly inhumane, including mock executions, sleep deprivation, and sexual humiliation.


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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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