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Torture: Illegal & Immoral

In response to the settlement in the Mitchell and Jessen lawsuit, the Peace & Justice Action League released the following statement along with information on upcoming speaking events we are co-hosting with Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Spokane Veterans for Peace-Chapter 035.

Statement from Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane:

We celebrate the settlement in the lawsuit against the two Spokane-based psychologists who designed and implemented the CIA’s brutal torture program, brought on behalf of three men who were tortured and experimented on using methods developed by the CIA-contracted psychologists, James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen. Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of Gul Rahman, who froze to death in a secret CIA prison, have shown that torturers must face consequences and accountability for their horrific violations of fundamental human rights and international law. We applaud this historic victory towards that end.

Our values of nonviolence, integrity, and justice for all call us to respect the inherent dignity of every human being. Members of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane stand up together against cruel, inhuman, degrading torture in our name as Americans and as human beings. The CIA torture program, developed by Mitchell and Jessen, not only impacted torture victims horrifically and irrevocably and violated international law, but also violated our shared values in a way that normalized and made more possible inhuman treatment in the US justice system, including prisons, jails and examples such as the Chicago Police Department black sites.

President Trump is on the record supporting bringing back torture. As part of the broad movement to resist, reject, and defeat his agenda of racism, misogyny, and exploitation, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane urges Senator Cantwell, Senator Murray, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers to commit to join us in opposing torture in all forms.

This trial and settlement are an important opportunity to educate ourselves and our communities about why torture is wrong and its impact on victims and global human rights. We are hosting two speaking events in September:

The Legal Obligation to Prevent and Prosecute Torture

Wednesday, Sept 6, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Gonzaga University School of Law
721 N. Cincinnati St, Spokane, WA 99202

Keynote Address: Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2010-2016). Mendez is widely respected as an authority on and advocate for the enforcement of international and national laws against torture. Mendez is currently Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, See http://antitorture.org/rapporteurship/who-is-juan-mendez/
Commentators:
Lisa Hajjar: Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Upendra Acharya: Associate Professor, Gonzaga University Law School.
CO-SPONSORS: Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture, National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Center for Victims of Torture; Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane; Veterans for Peace, Spokane chapter; Amnesty International Puget Sound; Western Washington and Seattle Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Why Torture is Wrong

Saturday Sept 9, 7:00 pm
Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St, Spokane WA 99201

Keynote Speaker Curt Goering is executive director at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) and former chief operating officer at Amnesty International USA. He has spoken and written widely about the moral and legal obligation to treat and rehabilitate survivors of torture. See http://www.cvt.org/who-we-are/staff/curt-goering
Goering will speak about the consequences of torture on victims and how torture is used to control individuals and communities. CVT extends rehabilitative care every day to thousands of survivors in locations around the world, confronting the prevalence and impact of torture on men, women, children, families and communities and the breakdown its use creates within societies. Curt will talk about healing and the kind of recovery that is needed for people who have experienced the extreme viciousness of torture.
Commentator: Rev. Rich Lang, District Superintendent, Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church, Seattle District; Rev Lang was formerly the pastor of Central United Methodist Church in Spokane and then pastor at University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle.
CO-SPONSORS: Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture, National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Center for Victims of Torture; Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane; Veterans for Peace, Spokane chapter; Amnesty International Puget Sound; Western Washington and Seattle Fellowship of Reconciliation.

ACLU statement: https://www.aclu.org/news/cia-torture-psychologists-settle-lawsuit
Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture statement: http://www.wsrcat.org/

 

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