Human Rights, Medical and Religious Groups to File Federal Complaint Seeking Investigation of CIA Experiments on Detainees

UPDATE 6/9: Human Rights Watch has joined the coalition of groups submitting the OHRP complaint today.

Media Advisory for: 11 AM EDT on Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Benjamin Greenberg, Physicians for Human Rights, 617-510-3417, bgreenberg at phrusa dot org
Margot Friedman, 202-332-5550, mfriedman at dupontcirclecommunications dot com

Telephone Press Briefing at 11 AM EDT on Wednesday

Evidence Indicates Experiments Were Conducted to Provide Legal Cover for Torture

Washington, D.C. – A coalition of human rights, medical and religious organizations will hold a telephone press conference at 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday to announce the filing of a complaint with the federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) seeking an investigation into human experimentation on detainees by the CIA.

The action follows the release Monday of a report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) that provides new evidence that health professionals on the CIA payroll performed experiments on detainees in U.S. custody following Sept. 11, 2001 to apparently provide legal cover for torture. That report, Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program is available at

The press conference will include representatives from Physicians for Human Rights and the following organizations, as well as other national human rights, medical and religious groups joining PHR in filing the complaint, including:

Amnesty International
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Victims of Torture
National Religious Campaign Against Torture and
Psychologists for Social Responsibility

The OHRP, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is responsible for ensuring that federally funded research by federal agencies including the CIA involving human subjects complies with regulations collectively known as the Common Rule. The CIA can not obstruct an OHRP investigation on the basis that evidence may be classified. OHRP has previously taken actions to suspend research activities at major research universities for violation of the Common Rule. Since the Obama administration has not responded to the request to investigate possible incidents of human experimentation on detainees, the groups are seeking an official investigation by the OHRP.


Nathaniel Raymond, Lead Author of Experiments in Torture and Physicians for Human Rights Campaign Against Torture Director
Tom Parker, Policy Director, Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights at Amnesty International
Shahid Buttar, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights
Steven H. Miles, M.D., Board member, Center for Victims of Torture, Professor at the Center for Bioethics, Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School
Steven Soldz, President-elect of Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Rev. Richard L. Killmer, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and a Presbyterian minister

WHEN: 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 9

DIAL IN: Journalists and bloggers can get info from contacts above.

Physicians for Human Rights was founded in 1986 on the idea that health professionals, with their specialized skills, ethical commitments, and credible voices, are uniquely positioned to investigate the health consequences of human rights violations and work to stop them. Since 2005, PHR has documented the systematic use of psychological and physical torture by US personnel against detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram airbase, and elsewhere in its groundbreaking reports Break Them Down; Leave No Marks; Broken Laws, Broken Lives; and Aiding Torture. PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is a national non-profit grassroots network that defends the rule of law, and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies. BORDC supports an ideologically, ethnically, geographically, and generationally diverse grassroots movement by encouraging widespread civic participation; educating people about the significance of our rights; and cultivating grassroots networks to convert concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action.

The Center for Constitutional Rights represents victims of the U.S. torture, detention and rendition programs, including men currently and formerly detained at Guantánamo. CCR has sought accountability up the chain of command for U.S. torture and other war crimes in U.S. courts as well as in Germany, France and Spain. CCR is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Visit

Founded in 1985, the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) was the first comprehensive torture survivor rehabilitation facility in the United States, and the third in the world. CVT provides care to thousands of torture survivors at its clinics in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and through programs in Jordan, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more information, visit CVT was the first organization to call for an executive order banning torture and cruelty, and in 2007 began discussions with a bipartisan group of military, foreign policy and security policy leaders. This effort led to the creation of the Campaign to Ban Torture, a partnership among CVT, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Evangelicals for Human Rights.

Founded in 1982, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) is an independent, non-profit organization that applies psychological knowledge and expertise to promote peace, social justice, human rights, and sustainability. Our members are psychologists, students, and other advocates for social change in the United States and around the world.

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored and U.S.-enabled torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Since its formation in January 2006, over 280 religious groups have joined NRCAT, including representatives from the Roman Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Unitarian, Quaker, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh communities.

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