(CLEVELAND, OH, 1/15/2010) – The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ohio office (CAIR-Ohio) met recently with human rights attorneys and law students from the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School who are working on prison abuse issues. The meeting also included attorneys representing Guantanamo detainees, as well as local activists from the Northern Ohio Coalition Against Torture, American Friends Service Committee and others.
The Harvard legal team is seeking accountability for health care professionals who allegedly participated in abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and at other detention sites. The team hopes to launch a local Ohio campaign to press for an official investigation by the Ohio State Board of Psychology of retired Army Colonel Larry James, former senior psychologist for interrogation consulting teams in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, Physicians for Human Rights, and other groups have called for inquiries into Dr. James’ role on interrogation teams.
In 2008, Dr. James, a prominent Ohio-licensed psychologist, was named Dean of Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology, where he continues to speak publicly about the role of psychology in interrogations.
On February 3-4, James will be a featured presenter at an executive workshop entitled, “The Psychology of Terrorism” sponsored by Wright State’s Institute for Defense Studies and Education.” The workshop, aimed primarily at government and law enforcement officials, costs $2,000 per person.
“Medical and mental health care professionals have an ethical responsibility to do no harm,” said CAIR-Ohio, Cleveland chapter executive director Julia A. Shearson. “We are concerned that someone facing such serious allegations of ethical misconduct would be presenting to government officials and doing so at taxpayers’ expense.”
A public forum will be held in Columbus, Ohio at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, on the issue of accountability for healthcare professionals involved in detainee interrogation teams. The Harvard Law School Human Rights Program team, legal experts and psychologists will be on hand to answer questions.
For details on the public forum, see: From Guantanamo’s Head Psychologist to Wright State Dean: Why Does the Ohio Psychology Board Refuse to Investigate Larry James?
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia A. Shearson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-830-2247