Sir Michael Marmot & the Hypocrites (not Hippocratic) Oath – the World Medical Association’s Support for Torture in Israel

Sir Michael Marmot & the Hypocrites (not Hippocratic) Oath – the World Medical Association’s Support for Torture in Israel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Bombard the WMA and
Complain to the GMC about Sir Michael Marmot’s Complicity
in Israel’s Use of Torture

Professor Sir Michael Marmot (UCL Institute of Health
Equity) was elected as President-Elect of the World Medical Association in 2014. 

One of Shin Bet’s torture techniques – the banana  posture – that the World Medical Association covers for
Sir Michael Marmot – President of the WMA – Follows in the WMA’s tradition of turning a blind eye i.e. approving Israel’s Use of Torture
In
his Presidential address to the World Medical Association, Sir Michael Marmot
said that: “No one cares as much
about health as we do in the medical and health professions. Of course, the WMA
represents the interests of doctors and must continue to do that. But we also
represent the interest of our patients and the populations that we serve.’
First page of Complaint by 71 British doctors regarding IMA’s Approval of Torture in Israel
One
can only assume that when Marmot spoke about representing the interest of
patients and populations that he didn’t mean to include Palestinian patients.  How else to explain the fact that the
complaint by 71 British doctors, including the eminent Psychiatrist Dr Derek
Summerfield, Dr Chris Burns-Cox, Baroness Tonge, Ghada Karmi, Dr Swee Ang and Sir
Iain Chalmers amongst others, was rejected out of hand?
Armed police women in front of Hunger Striker Alqiq room
What
we see is the usual deference to Israel, the United State’s major ally in the Middle
East, when it comes to the question of torture. 
This isn’t too different from the silence of the WMA over the complicity
of US doctors in the CIA’s use of torture.
There is no disputing that Israel tortures Palestinian prisoners – it even admits to it!  But the WMA doesn’t want to know about the complicity of its Israeli section
Contrast
this with the vigorous protests against the war crimes of the Turkish state
under the dictator Erdogan.  It is of
course extremely welcome that the WMA is holding the Turkish government to
account for their atrocities in the Kurdish areas of SE Turkey and Cizre in
particular. But it is sheer hypocrisy to complain about the behaviour of the
Turkish state and then turn a blind eye to the actions of Israeli doctors.  Apart from anything else, it diminishes the
force of the WMA’s complaints against 
Turkey.
Israeli Medical Association’s Response to Criticism of It Turning a Blind Eye to Torture in 2009
‘If we would be provided with some shred of evidence other than the word of the prisoners’  The evidence of torture victims, especially if they are Palestinians, doesn’t count
One has to ask why it
is that Sir Michael Marmot, President of the WMA, on the 25th January, just 7
days after acknowledging a letter from 71 British doctors, who complained of
the complicity of the Israeli Medical Association and Israeli doctors in the
use of torture, rejected the complaint without any investigation whatsoever.
Armed Guards at Barzilai hospital Watch over Hunger Striker Mohammed Allan
Israel’s use of
torture is no secret. Torture has long been official policy in Israel [See e.g.
Israel Admits Torture]
and in recent months, what is termed, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ have
even been used against far-right Jewish terrorists.
Mohammed Allan – Hunger Striker and Administrative Detainee
The WMA has a moral
and ethical duty not to cover up Israel’s use of torture any more than it
should cover up the use of torture by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other allies of
the United Statesin the Middle East.
A post I left on the WMA’s FB page suggesting that their criticism of Turkey might be a tad hypocritical
The WMA should either
live up to its professed beliefs and to take actions against Israel’s Medical
Association or admit that its concern for human rights is selective and designed
not to antagonise the Israeli state and its western sponsors. It is noteworthy
that the Physicians for Human Rights Israel has echoed the call by 71 British
doctors.  The actions of Michael Marmot
are therefore all the more despicable.
The disgraceful letter sent by Marmot to the Israeli Medical Association – Attacks those who have complained in the past as the usual suspects and lies about the WMA having conducted any investigation – it has repeatedly taken the word of the IMA regardless of the evidence presented 
Complicity in the use
of torture was the subject of the Nuremberg war crimes Tribunal and Nazi SS
doctors were executed because of their complicity and active participation in
torture, ‘euthenasia’ and medical experiments. 
The complicity of Marmot in Israel’s use of torture is to be complicit
in a war crime.  As Marmot is registered
with the GMC it is also duty bound to investigate his behaviour and I have accordingly submitted a complaint to them although, in view of the GMC’s previous record with respect to doctors’ breach of human rights in Irish cases, I have no
confidence that it will succeed.   
Israeli  Demonstrators Against the Practice of Force Feeding
An example of the
naked racism of the Israeli Medical Association is its letter to Marmot in 2009 when it explicitly stated that it didn’t regard the complaints of Palestinians who have been tortured as evidence of torture.  The victims of torture are not to be believed, as a matter of course.  In recent months Israel has also begun to  torture Jewish prisoners too, as if any confirmation were needed of its practices.  see Israel isn’t denying that it uses torture, it’s justifying it 

See British Doctors Demand Israel’s Expulsion From World Medical Association and See Professor Sir Michael Marmot made President-Elect of World Medical Association 

You might also want to send Marmot an email telling him what you think of him
The WMA’s adherence to hypocrisy rather than the Hippocratic Oath – It rightly criticises Turkey and then approves Israel’s use of torture
 Submission to World Medical Association Against IMA
January 2016

NEW
EVIDENCE-BASED SUBMISSION TO WMA PRESIDENT MARMOT REGARDING COMPLICITY OF
ISRAELI MEDICAL ASSOCIATION/ INDIVIDUAL DOCTORS WITH TORTURE IN ISRAEL
Yoram Blachar – previous Israeli President of the WMA – Supporter of Israel’s use of torture
Dear
WMA President/Sir Michael Marmot
We
the undersigned 71 UK doctors wish you well in the Presidency of the World
Medical Association (WMA). This is not a personal appeal, but a formal
evidence-based submission to the WMA (7 pages, the list of signatories, 3
attachments).  We ask you as President to take this submission to WMA
headquarters/Council and to ensure that action appropriate to the gravity of
the case and the weight of evidence is taken at institutional level. It is on
account of previous experience with the WMA (see below) that we are sending
this to your UK academic email address rather than direct to the WMA
Secretariat.
We
bring a matter that lies squarely within the remit of the WMA as the official
international watchdog on medical ethics, one that could hardly be more
extreme.  Its subject is the collusion of doctors (and their national
medical association) with torture, and it concerns one of your member associations
– the Israeli Medical Association (IMA).  The WMA is mandated to ensure
that its own members adhere to the WMA Declaration of Tokyo, the definitive
international anti-torture code for doctors.  The Declaration states that
doctors are forbidden from direct participation in acts that satisfy
international definitions of torture, and, further, they are obliged to protect
the patient, protest and speak out in situations where they encounter or
suspect they encounter torture.  In 2007 the then WMA President, Dr John
Snaedel made the second part of this ethical commitment crystal clear, stating
that the WMA was explicitly advising doctors to document cases of torture when
they encountered them.  Dr Snaedel added that the absence of documenting
and denouncing such acts “might be considered as a form of tolerance and of
non-assistance to the victim”. 
This
submission is fresh but is grounded in the evidence-based submission made to
the WMA in May 2009 by 725 medical doctors (including 114 professors) from no less
than 43 countries- a principled coalition of unprecedented breadth. 235
signatories were from the UK; some of these are signatories again today, some
signatories are new. Emailed via the WMA Secretariat, we addressed the then WMA
Council Chair, Dr Edward Hill and the whole Council.  We attached some of
the documentary evidence published by organisations of high repute like Amnesty
International which pointed unambiguously to the use of torture as an
instrument of state policy in Israel, and to the ongoing active and passive
collusion with torture by Israeli doctors attached to interrogation units,
shielded and defended by the IMA.  We did not address the appeal to then
WMA President Yoram Blachar because the probity of his presidency was what we were
in part contesting. As longstanding IMA President, Dr Blachar had become known
for his repeated refusal in medical journals like the Lancet or BMJ to admit
the existence of torture in Israel, and in particular to admit what as long ago
as 1996 Amnesty International had described as the everyday and
institutionalised involvement of doctors with torture. Dr Blachar had
consistently claimed that such claims were slanderous and malicious, vilified
those who had made them, ignored the evidence base, and pointed to membership
of the WMA as proof in itself of the ethical credentials of the IMA. 
Indeed Dr Blachar once went as far as to justify the use of “modest physical
pressure” (condemned as torture by the UN Committee Against Torture ) in the
Lancet in 1997 (350:1247). On the BMJ website he dismissed a 2004 BMJ article
on health and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories –a paper
which cited Amnesty, Johns Hopkins University, the International Court of
Justice, a UN Rapporteur, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel – as “the lies
and filth he spews….reminiscent of some of the worst forms of anti-Semitism
ever espoused”.  Dr Blachar’s ascension to the WMA Presidency seemed to us
in 2009 to make a mockery of the idea that the WMA could represent an effective
and even-handed regulator of medical ethics worldwide.  I am attaching our
initial letter in 2009 to the WMA Council Chair, a summary of the evidence we
appended, and a list of the 725 signatories. (attachment 1)
None
of this documentary evidence has ever been acted on: to give the flavour we
will revisit just two pieces of evidence we attached at that time.  A
report in 2007 by the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), based
on the detailed testimony of nine Palestinian men tortured between 2004 and
2008, gave a graphic demonstration of extent to which Israeli doctors continued
to form an integral and everyday part of the running of interrogation suites
whose output was torture.  Doctors, some of whom were actually named, saw
the prisoners at various points between episodes of torture (which in one case
led to spinal cord damage), did not take a proper history, did not protest on
these men’s behalf, and typically prescribed simple analgesia before returning
to their interrogators.  They did not need to ask the prisoners what had
happened to them because they knew perfectly well.  It was notable that
doctors in positions of authority were involved in several of these cases, like
the Chief Medical Officers of the Israeli Prison Service and of the Israeli
Police. The PCATI report was sent to the IMA, whose Ethics Chair was then
Professor Avinoam Reches, and the IMA later conceded to PCATI that they had
indeed received this.  No action was taken, which in itself was a prima
facie violation of the Declaration of Tokyo requirement that if doctors hear or
suspect that torture has taken place, they must investigate and speak
out.  This was straightforward collusion by the IMA. The IMA eventually
told PCATI they would investigate and we attach a scan of their 2009 report
back on their travesty of an ‘investigation’ (attachment 2). Professor Reches
stated that they had attempted to contact the doctors in question, that all had
denied any past or present connection with the Israeli Prison Service- a denial
the IMA accepted at face value.  Their conclusion that there was no
“shred of evidence other than the word of the prisoners”
, so no further
action could be taken. This says it all: what kind of investigation starts with
a blanket dismissal of the testimonies of the victims? Here we see
transparently how the IMA maintains its solidarity with the status quo in
interrogation centres, and how it fails to provide ethical leadership to
Israeli doctors posted to such centres.
Secondly,
in the November 2008 annual report to the UN Committee Against Torture, the UAT
Coalition, a coalition of 14 Israeli and Palestinian human rights
organisations, concluded that “since the Committee last reviewed Israel, the
practice of torture and ill-treatment has continued unabated.  The UAT
Coalition wishes to inform the Committee that in its opinion the use of torture
and ill-treatment by Israeli authorities against Palestinians is both
widespread and systematic.  The UAT Coalition has recorded evidence of
acts, omissions and complicities by agents of the State at all levels…..until
this culture of impunity is addressed this situation is unlikely to improve”.
IMA
membership of the WMA appears to have been a figleaf designed to deflect
criticism.  The IMA pays lip service to medical ethics and to the
Declaration of Tokyo but their actual behaviour over many years points the
other way. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) describes the IMA as
basically playing the role of loyal State actor, upholding a decision on political
grounds to turn a blind eye to torture in Israel while it remains intrinsic to
State policy- and thus to provide moral cover for the actions of Israeli
doctors implicated in this, regardless of the Declaration of Tokyo.
To
set the scene for this new appeal to the WMA it is necessary to describe
briefly how the WMA responded to the 2009 appeal.  As noted above, we sent
the appeal to the WMA Council. Council members are geographically scattered ,
so we sent the dossier to the Secretariat and asked them to forward to each
member. Only later we established that this had been blocked, that Council
members had been kept in the dark and had never seen the material!  Dr
Blachar, as WMA President, vilified the signatories in the Israeli and
London Jewish press, pointed contemptuously to those signatories with Arab
sounding surnames, and most pointedly of all instructed London libel lawyers
Finers, Innocent and Stephens to begin a libel writ against appeal convenor Dr
Derek Summerfield.  It seemed grotesque that a principled appeal so
securely grounded in evidence from multiple independent, reputable sources,
highlighting an issue at the heart of why the WMA was founded after World War
2, should be answered by the WMA President with a libel suit!  Assisted by
academics like Professor Noam Chomsky, who had supported the appeal from the
outset, we resisted the suit.
At
no time did we ever receive an acknowledgement from the WMA that we had written
to them. Repeated reminders sent at intervals to the WMA and to permanent
Secretary General Dr Otmar Kloiber, elicited nothing.   Finally lead
signatory Professor Alan Meyers rang up Dr Edward Hill in his medical clinic in
the US, and was told that the WMA would take no action to investigate the IMA
and the probity of Dr Blachar’s Presidency, and requested us not to send any
more material.
You
may remember that at a point when you were on the WMA Council, Sir Iain
Chalmers and Professor John Yudkin approached you about all this.
Faced
with this naked refusal by the WMA to act as mandated, we felt we had to move
on to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, first Manfred Nowak and latterly
Juan Mendez.  We conveyed to him our experience of the WMA’s refusal to
act.  A special rapporteur does sometimes investigate individual cases,
including within Israel, but we were informed that the investigation of civil
society bodies like a national medical association was outside the remit of the
Rapporteur. It is however what the WMA is for.
At
the heart of this fresh appeal is the most recent comprehensive report by PHRI
and PCATI- “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim: the Involvement
of Medical Professionals in Torture and Ill-treatment in Israel (2011).
See
online at stoptorture.org.il
It is based on testimonies and other evidence from the files of over 100
victims of torture and ill-treatment handled by PCATI/PHRI since 2007. 
Its summary affirms that “medical professionals abandon their duty by failing
to document and report torture; by passing on medical information to
interrogators; returning detainees to the custody of their interrogators when
in danger of being exposed to further torture or ill-treatment; and in extreme
cases, by taking an active part in the interrogation.  Because of their
unique social status, the presence of medical professionals in facilities where
torture or ill-treatment are carried out indicates the boundaries between the
permissible and the impermissible: it grants Israeli Security Agency (ISA)
interrogators a stamp of approval, whether explicit or tacit, that their
conduct is acceptable”.
The
report also notes that this conduct by doctors “furthermore precludes the
victim from presenting evidence which can aid in pursuing justice through
various legal and administrative proceedings”. The significance of this can be
seen in the fact that “over 700 complaints alleging torture/ill-treatment by
ISA interrogators have been filed since 2001 and not one single criminal
investigation has been initiated”. Complicity by doctors is therefore a
significant force in maintaining the impunity of ISA interrogators.
PCATI/PHRI
record that “medical staff in prisons, detention centres and hospitals which
treat prisoners are part of the broader administrative systems, primarily the
medical apparatus of the Prison Service, the Israeli Medical Association and
the Ministry of Health”. Torture continues to receive the full institutional
backing of the state.
From
long experience PCATI/PHRI conclude that “there are serious doubts that the IMA
is willing to enforce these rules: persistently repeated requests by PCATI/PHRI
calling the IMA’s attention to cases arousing suspicion of doctors’ involvement
in torture and cruel or degrading treatment, have not been dealt with
substantively.”   PCATI/PHRI note that the IMA’s ethical code
contains clauses which do not accord with the fundamental principle of medical
ethics, which is that the well-being of the patient should be the doctor’s sole
concern.  IMA codes require the doctor to respect “the good of society as
a whole and its right to protect itself”, authorising the doctor to assist the
security authorities upon their request, even when this may harm the rights of
the patient….  “With these clauses, the IMA enables the needs of the
security apparatus to be seen as coming before the ethical duties of
doctors”. 
We
provide a selection of the specific cases detailed in the report, and with
named doctors.
l. Failure
to document
, see Cases MA (incriminating Drs Laikh Victoria and Rodvan
Yelena) and case AR.
In
Case MA the injuries inflicted on the detainee included an eye injury which 1
month later was still preventing him from reading because of blurring. Dr
Victoria recorded no injuries and merely wrote “overall condition satisfactory,
heartbeat regular”. The subsequent examination by Dr Yelena also documented no
injuries. 2 weeks after the first examination MA was referred to an eye doctor
by a court. As the report puts it “if so long after the arrest a judge was
convinced of the necessity of treatment, the same should certainly have been
expected of a doctor whose job this is”.
AR
was arrested on 17 June 2010, assaulted, and interrogated for 6 days while
handcuffed in a painful position. On 12 October 2010, nearly 4 months later, AR
told a visiting PCATI attorney about his treatment and attempted to show the
marks still present. His medical file contained no documentation of these
injuries.
Access
to medical files is anyway often delayed for months following requests by PCATI
or PHRI for copies, arrive only partially complete, illegible, or have
apparently been lost.
II 
Silence as Consent.  Case JM was of a man from Jenin whose shoulder
was dislocated by a soldier during arrest. He was taken to Kishon Detention
Centre where Dr Saliman Fares recorded that he had pain in his right shoulder,
but nothing more specific nor the cause.
In
Case TS the detainee was ill-treated both during arrest, including being bitten
by a dog brought by the soldiers, and in a military base. He was transferred to
the notorious Russian Compound (where interrogations take place). Here his
condition prompted the prison doctor to refuse to accept him and he was
transferred to hospital. His medical file from “Sha’arei Tzedek” hospital in
Jerusalem signed by Dr Alexander Bergman records the bite, and a detention
centre doctor Dr Emil Erkin informed the interrogators of the injury by means
of a special form (an unethical practice in itself, as the report notes).
“Neither in the medical file nor anywhere else is there any record suggesting
that the case was reported to an external body of any kind by any of the
doctors who encountered him, not those at the military facility, the Russian
Compound, the hospital or Kishon.”
TC
was arrested on 1 July 2006 and during the course of interrogation lasting
several months was subjected to “hitting, isolation, sleep deprivation,
prolonged cuffing to a chair in a position so painful it led to loss of
consciousness, threats and curses….his body was so harmed that an attorney who
met him several days after the interrogation had ended was able to easily make
out the injury marks.” Of the doctors he saw over the course of his
interrogation, one  told him to co-operate with his interrogators, another
refused to check his injured eye when requested to do so by TC, and his medical
file revealed only some details (with some doctors reporting nothing of his
injuries). PCATI/PHRI subsequently discovered a memorandum dated 5 March 2007
which showed that a Detention Centre doctor had recorded TC’s complaint of an
assault 4 days earlier and had noted injury marks. The doctor addressed this to
the Commander of the Detention Centre but to no other authority, in clear
violation of his ethical duty.
III.
Refoulement ( returning the victim to the torturers despite evidence of
torture). Such action serves to afford the interrogators medical permission to
continue with their practices, drawing the doctor into the circle of active
participation.
Case
BA suffered from severe pain in arm, leg and back following ill-treatment but
the doctor ignored this, took his blood pressure and said “all is well and
there is no problem”. There is no documentation covering this clinic visit but
in Shikma Prison Dr Shimon Kaslesi noted that “the patient had no complaints
and that his overall condition was good.” He was returned to the Russian
Compound for further interrogation.
Case
SA was treated similarly to TC above. At one point he vomited blood. His
medical file records several clinic visits after which he was returned to the
interrogators. In a report dated 2 May 2010 Dr Vladimir Gudin describes “use of
reasonable force”. PCATI/PHRI comments thus: ”On what basis did the doctor know
that “reasonable force” had been used? SA’s medical file shows that, though a
number of doctors were witness to his distress, which itself resulted in part
from interrogation conditions, they nevertheless chose to return him to the
control of his interrogators and to the very same despicable imprisonment
conditions, over and over again”. 
KhZ,
arrested 13 January 2011, was knocked unconscious during arrest, and at the
Russian Compound was further abused as in the cases above.  According to
his testimony he saw doctors on an almost daily basis, but was always returned
to the interrogators. Documents dated 16 January 2011 and 10 February 2011
signed by Dr Ganady Lesitza lists complaints of headache and of lack of sleep
but nothing more.
IV.
Serving the Interrogation over Medical Confidentiality. In Case G.Tz the
detainee was held in a series of painful positions, assaulted, handcuffed to
the point of bleeding, and members of his family were arrested to apply
pressure to him. At Kishon Detention Centre Clinic a form signed Dr Galina
Veinar recording “pain in the hands due to an injury to a nerve in the hand”
was addressed to the Officer in Charge of Special Interrogations Wing. As
PCATI/PHRI comment, “plain and unadorned, medical information about the
interrogee is passed to an outside body”, moreover a body whose interests are
directly opposed to those of the detainee. The injury is likely to have
resulted from prolonged tight handcuffing.
Case
MJ is similar, incriminating Dr Vladimir Gudin.
V. Doctors
or Interrogators?
  Case SD asserts that he was “brought before a
doctor many times” (doctor not named) and told he could “get out of…his
military interrogation” (ie. torture) if he were to co-operate with his
interrogators.
VI.
Behind Bars or Hospital Walls. In Cases SB, the hospital release form
read as follows: “Says that 2 days ago was struck in the head, left eye and
upper back without losing consciousness. Fully conscious, calm during
examination. Haematoma of left eye, abrasion on right upper back”. Thus the
doctors had diagnosed SB as a victim of violence whilst in custody, but did not
report this to any external body (as the WMA Declaration of Tokyo mandates) and
after treatment returned him to custody.
In
Case JM (2), a man from Tulkarem, the doctor, and ambulance crew, appear to
have colluded with the interrogator who asked them to support an agreed version
of events, which was that the detainee’s injuries had been caused by his
falling down some stairs rather than through torture sustained during 20 days
of intensive interrogation. JM was then taken by ambulance, hands and feet
cuffed, to “Laniado” hospital in Netanya. When JM told the examining doctor
that it was a lie that he had fallen down stairs, but that he had been beaten,
the response was this was not her business, that the cause of injury was of no
interest. Several other doctors who saw the detainee in Laniado hospital
responded similarly when the detainee tried to tell them what had happened to
him. After his head injury was sutured he was discharged, having heard his
interrogator tell the doctor to try to avoid keeping him in hospital. The files
show that Dr Alexander Afensayev examined him on 5 October 2008.
The
doctors who saw JM consistently ignored his complains about violence, did not
document his injuries in a way that would allow their origin to be identified,
did not report them to an outside authority, and did not hesitate to return JM
to the custody of his interrogators despite what had already been inflicted on
him by them.
An
appeal was subsequently made by PHRI or PCATI to the IMA, the Ministry of
Health and the hospital. The IMA response was merely to ask if the police had
been approached, and as in all other cases they did nothing, despite their
ironclad obligation in terms of the WMA Declaration of Tokyo.
To
conclude, PCATI/PHRI devastatingly report that “except for one case (JM, where
even here the doctor reported in only a limited way, insufficient to satisfy
the Declaration of Tokyo) our research did not discover a single case where
torture and ill-treatment were reported.”
This makes it transparent that
the problem is not one of a few rotten apples in the barrel, but of
institutionalised practice.  Individual doctors who transgress in these
ways carry individual culpability, but major responsibility must lie with their
professional bodies, notably the IMA. If challenged such doctors could
realistically claim that the IMA had never meaningfully instructed them to
behave differently, had never instigated proper investigations when challenged
with specific cases (as in this report) and had in effect an implicit policy to
endorse the status quo on torture on political grounds- as the evidence shows
overwhelmingly. This is why the focus of our campaign has been the IMA, who
could halt the practice of torture in 5 minutes by obliging doctors to act
ethically whenever their findings suggest torture, or indeed by forbidding
doctors to work in units where torture is routine.  PCATI/PHRI cites the
case of South Africa and in particular the precedent set by Dr Wendy Orr in
exposing comparable abuses by the Medical Association of South Africa (MASA)
and individual doctors during the apartheid era. This led to the exclusion of
the MASA from the WMA for a period.
In
early 2013 a well- publicised case further highlighted the intimate involvement
of Israeli doctors in these matters.  A healthy 30 year old man Arafat
Jaradat, arrested on suspicion of throwing stones,  died after several
days of interrogation by Israeli Shin Bet internal security service on February
23rd, 2013 at Israel’s Meggido prison.  An autopsy was held next day at
Israel’s institute of Forensic Medicine in the presence of Dr Saber Aloul, the
Palestinians Authority’s Chief Pathologist, who assessed that the bruising on
the body was evidence of torture.  The Israeli authorities denied this,
claiming in their defence that Jaradat had been seen by Israeli doctors two
days before his death and they had found him in good health.   This
disclosure begged the medical ethical question: what where these doctors
examining him for, if not to assess whether he could withstand torture or
further torture? (Analogously, the existence of a “fitness for interrogation”
form came to light some years ago in Israel, to be signed by a doctor. Since
interrogation routinely meant torture, the doctors were giving the green light
to the interrogators and were part of the whole process.) 
It
has been clear to us and to PHRI that IMA postholders have been for many years
well embedded at the WMA. We note that amongst current WMA Council members is
Leonid Eidelman, who as successor to Yoram Blachar as IMA President maintained
entirely the same line. On the basis of our experience since 2009 it seems
irrefutable that the WMA has committed itself to shielding Israel no matter
what – though the WMA does speak out about possible involvement of health
professionals with torture in other countries, like Iran or Bahrain. This lack
of evenhandedness is ethically corrupt. Failing to act on the voluminous body
of evidence to which we point is to implicitly support the IMA position, and to
put the WMA in complicity with what passes in interrogation centres.  In
relation to the regulation of something that goes to the heart of the public
reputation of the medical profession, it appears that the WMA and some of its
officers (not least the Sec Gen) are not fit for purpose. You are an academic
with an international reputation and profile. In becoming President of the WMA
you cannot but take responsibility for the integrity and probity of the
organisation.  We UK doctors request that the appropriate arm of the WMA
examine this report, note the continuity with the evidence we cited in 2009,
and hold the IMA (and named doctors) formally to account for its contents. 
If the mountain of evidence incriminating the IMA were to be judged
insufficient to make the case at the WMA, then no evidence ever would.  As
noted earlier, the WMA is mandated to ensure that its member associations abide
by its statutes. If it will not act now, when would it? The Declaration of
Tokyo cannot be a mere paper exercise. Taking the precedent of the exclusion of
the Medical Association of South Africa from the WMA, we submit that similar
action regarding the IMA is justified by the facts.
There
are many people beyond the signatories who are concerned about the outcome of
this appeal, and the BMJ have taken an interest from the outset in 2009,
publishing several articles and letters over the years (the last in 2014) and
highlighting “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim: the Involvement of
Medical Professionals in Torture and Ill-treatment in Israel” when it was first
published (see BMJ article, attachment C).
We
look forward to hearing from you.  We note with confidence that in your
WMA inaugural address in Moscow on 16 September you affirmed that  “The
WMA upholds the highest ethical standards of the practice of medicine”, and
that “I want the WMA to use the same moral clarity to be active against the
causes of ill-health.” The cause of ill-health we are concerned about is of
course torture, no less, and the complicity of medical leadership in Israel
that with open eyes helps to keep it going.
As
a matter of significant public interest, we are copying our appeal and evidence
to the editors of the BMJ and The Lancet, and to the Guardian and Independent.
Yours
sincerely
Dr Chris
Burns-Cox             
Physician                      
Wotton-under-Edge (lead signatory)
Sir
Iain
Chalmers              
James Lind Library             
Oxford
Baroness
Tonge                 
House of
Lords                 
London
Dr
Pauline Cutting OBE         
Emergency Medicine Consultant    Bangor
Professor
Sami Timimi           Child
Psychiatry                       
Lincoln
Dr
Ben
Alofs                   
General
Practice               
Bangor
Dr
Derek
Summerfield           
Psychiatry                     
London (convenor)
Dr
Swee
Ang                    
Orthopaedic 
Surgery           
London
Dr
Zeyn Green-Thompson  Psychiatry                     
Cambridge
Dr
Mostafa
Mohanna             
Psychiatry                     
Lincoln
Dr
David
Halpin                
Orthopaedics & Trauma    Newton Abbot
Dr
Philip
Thomas               
Psychiatrist                   
Hebden Bridge
Dr
Tia
MacGregor               
General
Practice               
Oxford
Dr
Sukaina
Hirji                       
General
Practice               
Watford
Dr
Alex
Scott-Samuel           
Public
Health                  
Liverpool
Dr
Daniel
McQueen              
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Tom
Gilberthorpe            
Psychiatrist                   
London
Dr
Maha
Elias                  
Anaesthetist                   
Weston Super Mare
Prof.
Marco
Chiesa             
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr Chris
Evans                 
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Alison
Payne                
General
Practice               
Coventry
Dr
Numan
Shah                  
Trauma &
Orthopaedics           Leeds
Dr
Suman
Fernando              
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Kamilia
El-Farra            
Gynaecologist                  
Bishops Stortford
Dr
Nik
Husain                  
Anaesthetist                   
Kingston-Upon-Thames
Dr
Pam Wortley                 
General
Practice               
Sunderland
Dr
Catherine Houghton          
Respiratory
Medicine            Bury
Dr
Sonia
Allam                 
Anaesthetist                   
Larbert
Dr
Nuri
Gene-Cos               
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Suheib
Abukmeil             
Psychiatry                     
Northampton
Dr
A
Ravalia                   
Anaesthetist                   
Kingston-upon-Thames
Dr
Ala
Jebreel                 
Ears, Nose,
Throat             
Sheffield
Dr
Maged Agour         
Psychiatry                     
Doncaster
Dr
Assaddullah
Reha            
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Coral
Jones                 
General
Practice               
London
Dr
Brian
Robinson              
Psychiatry                     
Milton Keynes
Dr
Charles
Essex               
Paediatrics                    
Leamington Spa
Dr
Colin McKean         General
Practice               
Liverpool
Dr
Tim
Paine                   
General
Practice               
Bristol
Dr
Felicity de Zulueta         
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Walid
Abdul-Hamed           
Psychiatry                     
Chelmsford
Dr
Sushrut
Jadhav              
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Katy
Briffa                 
Psychiatry                     
Tavistock
Dr
Rhodri
Huws                 
Psychiatry                     
Sheffield
Dr
Duaa Saeed-Chesterman       
Histopathology                 
London
Dr
Khalil
Hossenbux            
Internal
Medicine              
London
Dr
Sylia
Chandler              
General
Practice               
Evesham
Dr
Jo
Moncrieff                
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Mamdouh
El-Adl              
Psychiatry                     
Northampton
Dr Tomasz
Pierscionek          
Psychiatry                     
Newcastle
Dr
Neil
Wellappili             
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Rukyya
Hasssan              
Psychiatry                     
Manchester
Dr
Aneesa
Peer                 
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Tessa
Harris                
Population Health Research Institute   
Reading                
Dr
Musa
Sami                   
Psychiatry                     
Kent
Dr
Ghada
Karmi                 
Public
Health                  
London
Dr
Eric
Windgassen             
Psychiatry                     
Manchester
Dr
Bob
Johnson                 
Psychiatry                     
Isle of Wight
Dr
Sandra
Oelbaum              
General
Practice               
Liverpool
Dr
M Makhdum                   
Psychiatry                     
Colchester
Dr
Jane
Hamilton               
Perinatal
Psychiatry           
Stirling
Dr
Ian
Kerr                    
Psychiatry                     
Stirling
Dr
Roger
Allen                 
Dermatology                    
Nottingham
Dr
Stephen Ginn        
Psychiatry                     
London
Dr
Norbert
Andersch            
Psychiatry/Neurology           
London
Dr
Carine Minne         Forensic
Psychiatry            
London
Dr
Betty Gordon        
Surgery                        
London
Dr
Hisham 
Al-Qassab           
Physician                      
London
Dr
Anna
Livingstone            
GP/medicolegal reporting        London
Dr
Estela
Welldon               
Forensic Psychiatry            
London
Dr
Brian
Martindale            
Psychiatry                     
Newcastle

 

 

 

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