ResourcesPress Release

Federal Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Architects of CIA Torture Program to Proceed

Physicians for Human Rights Says Torture Lawsuit Provides "Crucial Opportunities" for Truth and Accountability

For Immediate Release

A lawsuit brought by victims of CIA torture against two psychologists who designed and oversaw the illegal program will be allowed to proceed in a U.S. court. In the post-9/11 era, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has documented and denounced the systematic torture and ill-treatment of national security detainees in U.S. custody, including the role of psychologists, physicians, and other health professionals in these crimes.

“Today’s ruling is a major step forward in the fight against government-sanctioned torture,” said PHR’s Sarah Dougherty, a senior fellow for the group’s anti-torture program. “By allowing the lawsuit to proceed, the judge has opened up crucial opportunities for truth and accountability for the crimes of CIA torture and human experimentation.”

Three torture victims – including one who froze to death at a CIA black site – are plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the CIA contractors who designed and supervised the now-discredited torture program in exchange for $81 million.

“James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen not only violated their ethical duty to do no harm, they helped commit war crimes,” said PHR’s Dougherty. “They must be held accountable for the cruelty they inflicted – not only on these plaintiffs, but on all those who suffered in the CIA’s unlawful torture program.”

Physicians for Human Rights continues to advocate for prosecution of those who designed, implemented, and ordered torture – and has called for the U.S. government to release all information about torture programs implemented after 9/11.

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

Media Strategy, Senior Manager1.917.679.0110