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Prohibition of Physician Particpation in Interrogations and Torture

Published in December 2007




The IMA ratifies the update to the Tokyo Declaration: a physician shall not participate in interrogations and torture.


The 1975 WMA Tokyo Declaration, updated twice during the years 2005-2006, prohibits the participation of physicians in interrogations and torture of any kind.



The Declaration is founded on the knowledge that physicians practice medicine based on a humane approach aimed at preserving and restoring the physical and mental health of all individuals without distinction, and comforting and easing any suffering or discomfort they experience. The physician must do so without being dependent on any entity. The physician's utmost commitment is to human life, and the individual's dignity and wellbeing are especially important under conditions in which these values are threatened.


Several international treaties and ethical declarations of large international bodies also address this prohibition.


As a WMA member, the IMA accepts the contents of the Tokyo Declaration and ratifies its most recent version from May 2006, as specified below.



Position paper: Prohibition of Physician Participation in Interrogations and Torture


  • A physician is committed, as a human being and as a physician, to respect the dignity of every other human being.
  • A physician shall not participate in any practice of torture, cruelty or degradation of another human being, regardless of the individual's actions, the accusations against him or his beliefs.
  • A physician shall not provide medical authorization to inflict torture and will not provide medical knowledge, instruments or substances to this end.
  • A physician examining a detainee or a prisoner that may face interrogation or torture shall be particularly careful to ensure the confidentiality of personal medical information at his disposal and will not make any use of this information for interrogation or torture purposes.
  • A physician that is witness to interrogation or torture conducted contrary to international treaties shall report such acts to the appropriate authorities.
  • A physician shall not be present in a place in which interrogations or torture take place.
  • A physician shall exercise his professional independence in deciding upon the appropriate medical care for a detainee or prisoner for whom he is medically responsible, stemming from his responsibility to the individual's physical and mental wellbeing.
  • A prisoner choosing a hunger strike will not be force fed if the physician is convinced, after explaining to the prisoner the possible consequences of his decision, that the decision is based on unimpaired and rational judgment. The decision as to the prisoner's capacity to form such a judgment shall be confirmed by another independent physician.
  • The Israel Medical Association will support any physician that upholds these guidelines.