Medical professionals’ role in torture in secret prisons was “gross breach” of ethics, says Red Cross

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 14 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1546
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    The participation of medical personnel, directly or indirectly, in monitoring the interrogation of terrorism suspects tortured in secret Central Intelligence Agency facilities overseas “constituted a grave breach of medical ethics,” says a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    The Red Cross says that in some cases the monitoring “amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

    “Health personnel were directly involved in monitoring the health effects of the ill-treatment,” it says.

    The report, which was leaked and posted on 6 April on the website of the New York Review of Books by the journalist Mark Danner (, says that in some cases it was alleged that health personnel “gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust, or to stop particular methods.”

    The revelations of the confidential report, which is based on statements of 14 detainees interviewed by Red …

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