Broken Laws, Broken Lives

Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact

This report shows the human consequences of harsh and unlawful US interrogation practices. Revealed here is the excruciating pain and continued suffering of men who, never charged with any crime, endured torture at US detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay. Based on internationally-accepted standards for clinical assessment of torture claims, the report documents practices used to bring about long-lasting pain, terror, humiliation, and shame for months on end.


Report Preface:

  • Written by Major General Antonio Taguba, US Army (Ret.): Major General Taguba led the official US Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, testifying before Congress about his findings in 2004.

Report authors and clinical evaluators:

  • Fárnoosh Hāshemian, MPH: While a research associate at PHR, Fárnoosh led the investigation and was lead author for Broken Laws, Broken Lives. She was also a co-author on PHR’s 2007 report Leave No Marks. Fárnoosh is currently studying for her law degree at UCLA.
  • Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD: Report co-author Dr. Iacopino is Senior Medical Advisor at PHR and was the principal organizer of the UN guidelines on effective investigation and documentation of torture and ill treatment, known as The Istanbul Protocol. He is internationally recognized as an expert on the medical and psychological effects of torture.
  • Sondra Crosby, MD: A PHR Asylum Network member and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Crosby has a long-standing relationship with PHR investigations. In 2008 and 2009, she traveled to refugee camps in Chad to interview and evaluate Darfuri women who had suffered rape and sexual assault both in Darfur and after arriving at the camps in Chad.
  • Allen Keller, MD: PHR Medical Advisor and co-author of several of PHR’s report on torture, landmines, and PHR’s manual for Asylum Network volunteers, Dr. Keller is also Associate Professor of Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and is the Director of the NYU Center for Health and Human Rights.
  • Onder Ozkalipci, MD: As a PHR consultant, Dr. Ozkalipci assisted as forensic expert at mass grave exhumations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996 and 1997. He is one of three coordinators and a co-editor of the The Istanbul Protocol.
  • Leanh Nguyen, PhD: A former refugee of the Vietnam War, Dr. Nguyen is now a psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. She holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is on staff at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.
  • Christian Pross, MD: Dr. Pross is the author of many publications on the effects of torture, including numerous articles on the history of Nazi medical abuses. He co-founded the Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims.
  • Barry Rosenfeld, PhD: As a practicing clinical psychologist, Dr. Rosenfeld is board-certified in forensic psychology and has conducted numerous evaluations of the effects of incarceration and torture in a wide range of legal cases and across diverse settings. He previously collaborated with PHR in an investigation of torture in the State of Punjab, India.

The illustration:

The above image which also illustrates the cover of this report is a detail from a painting by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Botero’s series of riveting paintings and drawings that reimagine the shocking photographs of the abuses of Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, which were revealed in 2003, can be seen in his book Botero Abu Ghraib.

Botero, in his Abu Ghraib series, suggests that anyone with a sense of humanity must realize that fighting terrorist attacks with further acts of cruelty and terror is not the right solution.
        ~ David Ebony, Associate Managing Editor of Art in America, text in “Botero Abu Ghraib”

PHR is grateful to Mr. Botero for allowing the use of his painting for the report and this site.

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