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 were an important opportunity to educate ourselves and our communities about why torture is wrong and its impact on victims and global human rights.
We hosted two events in September with Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Spokane Veterans for Peace-Chapter 035. Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2010-2016), Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara, and Upendra Acharya, Associate Professor, Gonzaga University Law School.
Poet Alexander Manzoni performs spoken word as the Opening Performance at Why Torture is Wrong on September 9, 2017.