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Thomas K. Duane's Blog

Holding a Forum on Medically-Assisted Torture

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On November 15, 2011, I held a public forum to address the controversy surrounding accusations of medical professionals’ participation in torture or “enhanced interrogation” as well as to analyze the potential impacts and implementation of proposed legislative responses.  A number of court cases and petitions to state disciplinary boards have included evidence that licensed medical professionals abdicated their professional responsibility by taking part in torture.  Since these professionals are licensed at the State level, it is within New York State’s jurisdiction to determine whether violations have occurred as well as the appropriate sanctions.  The forum explored the legal, regulatory and ethical obligations of medical professionals relating to torture and other enhanced interrogation techniques, and analyzed the potential impacts and implementation of proposed legislative responses.  It featured speakers from the New York State Psychological Association, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Physicians for Human Rights, the Center for Justice and Accountability and many other stakeholders.  I will be working with New York State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried to craft the best possible bill and introduce it in advance of the coming Legislative Session.