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Last updated: 13 September, 2011 - Published 13:35 GMT
 
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Sri Lanka doctors 'complicit in torture'
 
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq - abuse
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq - abuse
Doctors in five countries including Sri Lanka are complicit in torture by failing to report torture when they treat torture victims, says the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

In a detailed report, the BMJ says medical professionals in UK, US, Italy, Israel and Sri Lanka are complicit in torture by failing to blow the whistle.

The report by Medact, a UK based health charity stress the importantance of training doctors on what constitutes torture and support to blow the whistle when they witness it.

The report coincides with the publication of the report into torture of an Iraqi worker allegedly by British soldiers.

Climate of impunity

"The climate of impunity that may have been created, lack of support that may be given, really need to be discussed," said Marion Birch, director of Medact.

The report outlines specific examples where doctors have breached Geneva conventions and medical ethics.

In Sri Lanka, doctors treating torture victims "have to carry out consultations in the presence of police, which breaches the medical confidentiality and can intimidate the doctor," says the report.

The report states that in 2007, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture in the UK (MFCVT) reviewed 130 cases from Sri Lanka, referred to the Foundation in the previous year.

Twenty-four women and 22 men who sought help from the Foundation reported having being raped, states the British Medical Journal (BMJ) quoting MFCVT report.

Sixty eight torture methods

BMJ says that one piece of work by P.Perera, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Kelaniya who examined the medical records of 100 victims of torture between 1998 and 2001 held by the Judicial Medical Officer’s Office in Colombo had identified sixty-eight different methods of torture.

Hooding was banned by the Army but was used in Basra in 2003
Hooding was banned by the Army but was used in Basra in 2003

While British doctors working in immigrant detention centres seems to fail to examine the immigrants properly, doctors in Israel have "consistently failed to oppose and accurately report" torture, according to the report.

In Italy, says the BMJ, doctors and nurses at the prison where G8 protesters were held in 2001 were accused of "actively participating in mistreatment of detainees."

Injuries not reported

BMJ report states that British doctors working at immigrant detention centres fail to examine properly or report injuries asylum seekers have received before arriving in the UK.

"This can lead not only to their not receiving treatment they need but also to a lack of evidence supporting the case for asylum for those who have been tortured or abused elsewhere.

Prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq being absued by US soldiers
Prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq being absued by US soldiers

US doctors have been found to have falsified death certificates for detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, psychologists helped develop interrogation techniques at Guantanamo prison, and doctors neglected or concealed evidence of intentional harm inflicted on detainees.

In Italy, says the BMJ, doctors and nurses at the prison where G8 protesters were held in 2001 were accused of "actively participating in mistreatment of detainees."

 
 
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