AMA rebukes doctors for role in CIA 'torture'

The top medical group in the United States on Friday rebuked doctors involved in harshly interrogating terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush administration after a scathing Senate report detailed the practices this week.

The American Medical Association (AMA) said medical ethics prohibits doctors from participating in or being made to assist with practices the group termed "torture."

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"The physician's most important role is that of healer, and that role is seriously compromised in situations of torture and coercive interrogation," said AMA President Robert M. Wah in a statement that was at turns critical and reflective.

"The AMA will continue to advocate that no doctor is asked to go against the ethics of the profession, to remind physicians of their ethical obligations, and to ensure that medical professionals are never involved in the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody."

The group waited several days to respond to the report, a sign of the depth of reckoning taking place within the medical profession over revelations that doctors were involved in brutally interrogating prisoners in the years following Sept. 11.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which released its findings on Tuesday, condemned techniques such as waterboarding and "rectal feeding" used to compel information from prisoners.

At least five detainees were subjected to the second practice by the Central Intelligence Agency without documented medical need, the report stated. One prisoner suffered from an anal fissure, chronic hemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse as a result.

The report said two Spokane-based psychologists who helped develop the harsh interrogation program were paid more than $80 million for their work.