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My name is Juan Gonzalez. I am the president of the Chilean Medical Association, and a former professor of surgery in the School of Medicine in Santiago, Chile.

I am here on behalf of my association as a request in a letter in writing to testify at this hearing, and I will try to summarize our speech.

Mr. YATRON. Thank you.

Dr. GONZALEZ. We believe that the problem of torture, the fact that torturers do exist, that they continue to do their job and that they become an institution, shows that the society in which we live is sick.

It would be far too easy to consider that the problem lies only in torturers, understood as depraved and psychotic persons.

Within this context, we determined which was the ethical position of the Colegio Medico de Chile on torture. We realize that torture has been an instrument used by the authorities in Chile during the past 10 years.

A national awareness has come up recently, and especially during the last 2 years. Under these circumstances, in late 1981, the leaders of the Colegio Medico were democratically elected, and, therefore, a more defined strife became possible.

Before that time, the authorities of the Colegio, like those of the professional associations, were designated by the Government.

The new leaders, consistent with the historical tradition of the association, assume the responsibility of being well informed, creating an awareness and struggling against torture, up to where their slunted powers allow.

During those years, some physicians created groups to protect those who were persecuted, to support them and give them medical care and also to denounce what was happening. Basically, all these groups started and survived thanks to the support of the Catholic Church.

Torture was a common practice throughout the country after the coup d'etat. In a scared society, there are always less denounces of torture than there should actually be. A record of these accusations has been kept basically by the Vicariate for Solidarity of the Catholic Church and it is known by the international public opinion.

Amongst these groups, some of the most prominent ones are the aforementioned Vicariate, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the National Commission Against Torture, created in late 1982.

Physicians participate actively in all these groups and especially in the National Commission Against Torture, presided by a physician who is at present national counselor of the Colegio Medico de Chile.

Our organization made an important contribution against the participation of physicians in cruel, inhuman, or degrading procedures by incorporating to its code of ethics a special article that prohibits direct or indirect participation of physicians in torture.

This determination to denounce torture allowed us to start investigating physicians who had participated in inhuman and degrading procedures. Said investigations began 1 year ago, and they were initiated in the Department of Ethics of our General Counsel.

The internal summary that the Colegio Medico applies when a physician violates the code of ethics has been completed in only one case so far. Charges have been formulated and another case is underway, and there is a third case involving two physicians who have been identified.

According to the existing statements, prisoners are blindfolded before being tortured. Therefore, direct identification has been virtually impossible, except in the four cases previously described where identification was possible due to exceptional circumstances.

The study of court legal files revealed some problems in connection with medical certification. According to Chilean law, any person who is captured and put to jail or arrested in a public place destined to imprisonment, must be examined by a physician when entering and when leaving.

Nevertheless, we know that there are physicians who certify the physical condition of persons arrested in secret places without examining them at all, or performing only a very superficial examination.

These health certifications have been used for different purposes, especially to give torture and arrest in secret places the appearance of legal processes, and, what is worse, to certify in some cases the degree of torture an arrested person can withstand.

The torturers' attempt to know the amount of torment to be inflicted. So, the written certification is a matter of routine, and it is granted with an illegible signature, therefore, it is impossible to know who was the physician involved.

In November 1982, Mr. Sebastian Acevedo immolated himself in the main square of Concepcion, a city in the south of our country, because two of his sons were arrested and presumably tortured by the CNI, secret police.

This had a national repercussion and the protest of the physicians of that region was particularly important. Some physicians have suffered retaliation after denouncing or certifying acts of torture.

In our efforts to prove the participation of physicians in torture, the very fact that these are physicians involved in such a monstrous activity, which is contrary to the medical vocation, is much more important than the number of cases detected.

It means being against the evolution of mankind. Accusing someone as being guilty of torture is so serious that our work is carried out with maximum discretion and secrecy. To cause the slightest doubt in this regard to a physician is an enormous punishment that will be very difficult to bear for him and his family.

It is for this reason that the process is so long and is kept in such secrecy. And, this is also why we request maximum discretion from those who are acquainted with information on these matters. Once charges are made, they must be unquestionable.

To sum up, the task of the Colegio Medico de Chile has to obtain information, to divulge its moral position against torture, to intimidate those physicians that could feel tempted to act, to incorporate in the Code of Ethics an article, from the Declaration of Tokyo, against torture, participation of physicians in the different institutions created on behalf of human rights, and divulgation of the ethics-related subjects in conferences and publications.

The Colegio has recently suggested to the Government the creation of a Code of Ethics for the officers in charge of enforcing the law.

What will be needed in the future in order to avoid this scourge? We said that our belief in what refers to torture and torturers is not that they are a group of psychotic persons, but the result of a society which permits the existence of this group and even its institutionalization.

It is encouraging to see that ethical values are coming back to life, that there is a search for the genuine, honest and worthy tradition of our country.

We believe that our task is to continue along this line, to support morally and materially the institutions that struggle to abolish torture, that, basically, we believe that the only real and definitive solution to the problem is for the country to recover our true democracy.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

[Dr. Gonzalez' prepared statement follows:]

PREPARED STATEMENT OF JUAN GONZALEZ, M.D.

THE ETHICAL POSITION OF THE COLEGIO MEDICO ON TORTURE

We believe that the problem of torture, the fact that torturers do exist, that they continue to do their job and that they become an institution, shows that the society in which we live is sick. It would be far too easy to consider that the problem lies only in torturers understood as depraved and psychotic persons. This would be a fobic way of evading the social guilt that the problem involves. We have received many oral accusations-since denouncers are scared to do them in written formwe have investigated, but it is difficult to obtain witnesses and to prove facts completely.

Within this context, we determined which was the ethical position of the Colegio Médico de Chile on torture.

We realize that torture has been an instrument used by the authorities in Chile during the past 10 years.

A national awareness has come up recently, and especially during the last two years. Under these circumstances, in late 1981, the leaders of the Colegio Médico were democratically elected, and therefore, a more defined strife became possible. Before that time the authorities of the Colegio-like those of the other associations of professionals were designated by the government.

The ne

leaders, consistent with the historical tradition of the association, assume the responsibility of being well informed, creating an awareness and struggling against torture up to where their slunted powers allow.

During those years, some physicians created groups to protect those who were persecuted, to support them and give them medical care and also to denounce what was happening. Basically, all these groups started and survived thanks to the support of the Catholic Church.

Torture was a common practice throughout the country after the coup d'etat. In a scared society, there are always less denounces of torture there should actually be. A record of these accusations has been kept basically by the Vicariate for Solidarity of the Catholic Church and it is known by the international public opinion.

Amongst these groups, some of the most prominent ones are the aforementioned Vicariate, the Commission for Human Rights and the National Commission against Torture, created in late 1982.

Physicians participate actively in all these groups and especially in the National Commission against Torture, presided by a physician who is at present National Counselor of the Colegio Médico.

The Colegio Médico de Chile made an important contribution against the participation of physicians in cruel, inhuman or degrading procedures by incorporating to its Code of Ethics a special article that prohibits direct or indirect participation of physicians in said procedures.

This determination to denounce torture allowed to start investigating physicians who had participated in inhuman and degrading procedures. Said investigations

began a year ago, and they were initiated in the Department of Ethics of the General Counsel.

The internal summary that the Colegio Médico applies when a physician violated the Code of Ethics has been completed in only one case so far. Charges have been formulated. Another case is under way and there is a third case involving two physicians who, presumably, have been identified.

According to existing statements, prisoners are masked before being tortured, therefore direct identification has been virtually impossible, except in the four cases previously described where identification was possible due to exceptional circumstances.

The study of Court legal files revealed some problems in connection with medical certification. According to Chilean Law and the Code of Ethics of this Association, any person who is captured and put to jail or arrested in a public place destined to imprisonment must be examined by a physician when entering and leaving such a place. Nevertheless, we know that there are physicians who certify the physical condition of persons arrested in secret places without examining them at all or performing only a superficial examination. These health certifications have been used for different purposes, especially to give torture and arrest in secret places the appearance of legal processes and, what is worse, to certify in some cases the degree of torture an arrested person can withstand. The torturers' attempt to know the amount of torment to be inflicted. The written certificate is a matter of routine and it is granted with an illegible signature; therefore, it is impossible to know who was the physician involved.

This has been accepted without there being any evident objections, thus creating an anomalous situation which lead to a meeting of the leaders of the Colegio Médico with the President of the Supreme Court.

In November 1982, Mr. Sebastián Acevedo immolated himself, in a bizarre manner, in the main square of Concepción, because two of his sons were arrested and presumably tortured by C.N.I. officials. This had a national repercussion and the protest of the physicians of that region was particularly important. Eighty out of 100 physicians met in a colloquy on torture that was held in Chillán, a city of the region. It was the first time that something of this kind happened. This unusual protest of Mr. Acevedo made the Department of Ethics request a pronouncement from the Academy of Medicine.

Some physicians have suffered retaliation after denouncing or certifying acts of torture. Other activities of the Colegio Médico de Chile on behalf of Human Rights

are:

(a) The Department of Gremial Activities has organized a commission to support physicians who are suffering retaliation.

(b) Joint representation, together with the Confederación Médica Argentina, in A.M.M. (Venice), declaration on the respect of Human Rights of Physicians, condemnation of the participation of physicians in torture based on the declaration of Tokyo of the AMM, countersigned by the United Nations. The Assembly's support was unanimous.

(c) Divulgation of torture, for example, address by Dr. Castillo, "Vida Médica❞ (Medical Life), September 1983, through the Association's media and, if possible, press.

(d) Struggle for the protection of ethics.

In our efforts to prove the participation of physicians in torture, the very fact that there are physicians involved in such a monstrous activity which is contrary to the medical vocation, is much more important that the number of cases detected. It means being against the evolution of mankind. Accusing someone as being guilty of torture is so serious that our work is carried out with maximum discretion and secrecy. To cause the slightest doubt in this regard to a physician is an enormous punishment that will be very difficult to bear for him and his family. It is for this reason that the process is so long and is kept in such secrecy. And, this is also why we request maximum discretion from those who are acquainted with information on these matters. Once charges are made, they must be unquestionable.

To sum up, the task of the Colegio Médico has been to obtain information, to divulge its moral position against torture, to intimidate those physicians that could feel tempted to act, to incorporate in the Code of Ethics an article-from the Declaration of Tokyo—against torture, participation of physicians in the different institutions created on behalf of human rights, and divulgation of ethics-related subjects in conferences and publications. The Colegio has recently suggested to the Government the creation of a Code of Ethics for the officers in charge of enforcing the law. What will be needed in the future in order to avoid this scourge?

We said that our belief in what refers to torture and torturers is not that they are a group of psychotic persons, but the result of a society which permits the existence of this group and even its institutionalization.

It is encouraging to see that ethical values are coming back to life, that there is a search for the genuine, honest and worthy tradition of this country. We believe that our task is to continue along this line, to support morally and materially the institutions that struggle to abolish torture. But, basically, we believe that the only real and definitive solution to the problem is for the country to recover a true democracy.

Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Dr. Gonzalez.

Our next witness is Mr. Juan Mendez.

Mr. Mendez, will you please proceed with your statement?

STATEMENT OF JUAN E. MENDEZ, DIRECTOR OF THE
WASHINGTON OFFICE, AMERICAS WATCH

Mr. MENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am an attorney admitted to practice in Argentina and in Washington, DC, and for the last several years, I have been living in the United States. I was only allowed to return to Argentina this year, after the state of seige was lifted after the elections in October 1983.

Like many lawyers of my generation, I practiced in the defense of political prisoners in the 1970's in Argentina. Many of our clients or defendants, almost all of them, I would say—had suffered torture.

So, a good portion of our work was efforts to stop the practice of torture, and then to show evidence that there had been torture.

At the same time, because of that work, we, in turn, became targets of repression ourselves. In my case, I was arrested in August 1975, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, and for the first 3 days, my arrest was not acknowledged.

I was taken to three or four secret locations by the police of the Province of Buenos Aires, and I was tortured, mostly with electric shock.

On the first day of torture, I received five sessions of what is called a "picana," the electric prod. The one that they used on me was a more updated, sophisticated version of the cattle prod, which can be regulated.

In the course of those five sessions, I was repeatedly interrogated about my clients, about my contacts, about the relatives of my clients, about the ways in which lawyers like me were able to file petitions for habeas corpus hours after someone had been arrested by the security forces.

The way the electric prod is applied is, they stripped me naked and they tied me to a table, spreadeagled, and they applied the electric prod to all sensitive parts of my body, especially genitals, my mouth, the back of my head.

The effects are undescribable. The pain is really beyond words, and it does result in very serious sensory deprivations for many hours after the sessions are finished.

Fortunately, because of the work of my friends and colleagues and of my family, finally, my arrest was acknowledged. Then, I spent a year and a half in prison without charges in Argentina, until, in 1977, after being adopted as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, and after several Members of this House

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