Californians Against Medical Torture Scores First Victory

Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director of PSR-LA and Sandra Schwartz, Program Coordinator with AFSC-San Francisco at the State Capitol

Last year, PSR-LA joined forces with American Friends Service Committee, Program for Torture Victims, and San Francisco Bay PSR, to form Californians Against Medical Torture.  This coalition scored its first victory on January 14 with the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 19 ( Ridley –Thomas) out of the Senate  Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, and on April 21, it successfully passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 22 to 11.  Over 150 PSR-LA member sent letters in support of the resolution.

The hearing included  Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director of PSR-LA, Dr. Jose Quiroga, Co-Founder of Program for Torture Victims and PSR-LA board member, Barbara Olshansky, Professor at Stanford Law School, Dr. Jean Maria Arrigio, social psychologist, Rev. Phillip Lawson, and Dr. Steven Miles, author of Oath Betrayed.

This measure requests all relevant California agencies to notify California-licensed health professionals about their professional obligations under international law relating to torture and the treatment of detainees.  It also calls for notifying all licensed professionals that those who participate in torture may be subject to prosecution. In addition, the measure requests that the U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency remove all California-licensed health professionals from participating in prisoner and detainee interrogations.

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