ResourcesPress Release

CIA Torture Report Highlights Unnecessary Medical Procedure

Rectal Hydration and Rectal Feeding is Not Medically Justified

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said today that the use of rectal hydration and rectal feeding on detainees without evidence of medical necessity – which was revealed in yesterday’s U.S. Senate report – constitutes torture. 

“Contrary to the CIA’s assertions, there is no clinical indication to use rectal rehydration and feeding over oral or intravenous administration of fluids and nutrients,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor. “This is a form of sexual assault masquerading as medical treatment. In the absence of medical necessity, it is clear that the only purpose behind this humiliating and invasive procedure is to inflict physical and mental pain.”

The torture report released yesterday stated that rectal rehydration or feeding was inflicted on at least five detainees. Three additional detainees were also threatened with the procedure. PHR pointed out that three of the detainees subjected to rectal rehydration and feeds were on hunger strike, indicating that such procedures were likely used as punishment. 

The Senate report confirms that health professionals were complicit in the CIA’s illegal torture program, and PHR has called for everyone involved in detainee abuse to be investigated. A team of medical, psychiatric, and psychological experts has been studying the report and expects to produce an analysis on health professionals’ complicity in CIA torture in the coming days.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

Media Contact

Kevin Short

Deputy Director, Media & Communications1.917.679.0110

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