Russell Tribunal Judge Blasts Political Prisoners' Treatment

Dr. Gianni Tognoni spoke about the Bertrand Russell Tribunal's investigation of the treatment of political prisoners in Latin America last night before a sparse audience at the Medical School.

Tognoni said the tribunal, founded by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to investigate allegations of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam, has turned its attention on Latin America "because there are the same kinds of imperialism and exploitation occurring there as occurred in Vietnam."

Tognoni said the tribunal is especially interested in the role of doctors and psychiatrists in helping Latin American military authorities develop methods of torture.

Tognoni called on physicians all over the world, and particularly those in Latin America, to condemn strongly any "assistance that prolongs a prisoner's life for further interrogation or that keeps him in good physical condition for when diplomatic missions come to inspect the prison camps."

Tognoni mentioned that a group of doctors and psychiatrists on the tribunal, of which he is a member, are attempting to help people who come out of prison camps through special rehabilitation methods. He stressed the need for "tortured people to have international protection, and to have medical assistance made available to them."

He said the tribunal will report its findings on Latin America in three or four months. Tognoni is scheduled to speak tonight at the School of Education.