ResourcesPress Release

PHR Responds to Sessions Waterboarding Comments

For Immediate Release

During his confirmation hearing today, Senator Jeff Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that waterboarding is illegal and improper. The following statement can be attributed to PHR’s Sarah Dougherty, senior anti-torture fellow:

“Senator Sessions has confirmed what the human rights community has emphasized for years: waterboarding is ‘absolutely illegal and improper.’ Indeed, torture of any kind is against the law, including waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, as well as all techniques that inflict severe physical and mental pain or suffering. If confirmed as attorney general, Sessions will be responsible for upholding the law and must stand firm against any efforts to reintroduce such heinous practices. Any other stance would violate or circumvent the absolute ban on torture.

“Torture is a crime not only under federal law and the Constitution but also violates U.S. obligations under international law. Moreover, torture is deeply immoral and harmful. We at Physicians for Human Rights have documented the profound physical and psychological harm torture inflicts. Torture damages people and institutions, saps U.S. moral standing, and has no place in a world that values human dignity.

“There’s clear agreement among health professionals – as well as national security leaders, military and intelligence professionals, religious leaders, legal scholars, and the human rights community — that torture is antithetical to U.S. values and laws. We’re pleased to see Senator Sessions agrees with that overwhelming consensus.”

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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