Doctors and Torture: Ethics of Interrogation(Medical Horizons)

Aly A. Misha'l


In many countries of the world, interrogators of prisoners attempt to enlist the assistance and cooperation of physicians to advise and monitor activities of interrogation of prisoners in civil or military detention centers.

Medical complicity with torture and abuse of prisoners is usually undertaken by doctors working in prisons, or those enlisted in military services.

The following practices by physician have been reported from various parts of the world.

-Physicians devise ways to keep physical scars of torture to a minimum.
-Certify prisoners as fit for harsh interrogation and torture.
-Monitor vital signs during mistreatment or torture of detainees.
-Give professional approval to intensify abuse or torture.

Around half of torture survivors report that physicians have overseen their abuse or torture. This number does not include those who do not see physicians being accomplices of the torture, or those who die of torture that a physician, either willingly or under pressure, certifies death by natural causes.

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