09 Oct 2017
The fight for rehabilitation for Guantánamo Bay detainees

The section ‘In the name of the war on terror’ in the latest issue of the Torture Journal explores the fight for rehabilitation for Guantánamo detainees.

Reprieve’s ‘Life after Guantánamo’ rehabilitation project highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of the 741 ex-detainees who have been transferred to 59 different countries. In ‘Obstacles to torture rehabilitation at Guantánamo’, lawyers representing some of the 41 detainees remaining at Guantánamo write about the torture that these men have been subjected to, and their right to rehabilitation. Possible means of rehabilitation are considered against a backdrop offering little hope of release and numerous restrictions in the regime that operates under the US Military Commissions Act, while not on US soil.

The final article in this section ‘The United States Supreme Court Case Ziglar v. Abbasi and the severe psychological and physiological harms of solitary confinement’ reminds us that, even within the US, the use of solitary confinement can amount to ill-treatment and even torture.  A group of medical, scientific and health-related professionals submitted to the court an account (an Amicus curiae brief) of the far-reaching psychological effects of solitary confinement. The case concerned the incarceration of a group of men following September 11, and their treatment. The Torture Journal article not only sets out the content of the brief but also explains how their bid for justice was ultimately rejected on a technical issue by the US Supreme Court in June 2017.

Readers may also be interested in the moving Perspectives pieces from ex-detainees from Iran and the regular scientific articles. ‘Can disability predict treatment outcome among traumatized refugees?’ contributes to the debate on the connection between disability and treatment for PTSD, anxiety and depression. ‘Detainees' perception of the doctors and the medical institution in Spanish police stations: An impediment in the fight against torture and ill-treatment’ highlights the importance of independent medical oversight to prevent ill-treatment in incommunicado detention in Spain.

Contributors to this issue include survivors from Evin Prison (Iran), the Deputy Director of Reprieve (UK), a psychologist from Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims – Jutland, (Denmark), and lawyers from the Military Commission Defence Organization (US).

For more information

Launched in 1991, Torture Journal is an interdisciplinary scientific journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture.  The full contents of the new issue are available free-of-charge here

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