The Torture Doctors

Human Rights Crimes and the Road to Justice

Steven H. Miles, MD

"The Torture Doctors is a valuable resource and a vital addition to the fields of Bioethics and Human Rights."
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Torture doctors invent and oversee techniques to inflict pain and suffering without leaving scars. Their knowledge of the body and its breaking points and their credible authority over death certificates and medical records make them powerful and elusive perpetrators of the crime of torture. In The Torture Doctors, Steven H. Miles fearlessly explores who these physicians are, what they do, how they escape justice, and what can be done to hold them accountable.

At least one hundred countries employ torture doctors, including both dictatorships and democracies. While torture doctors mostly act with impunity—protected by governments, medical associations, and licensing boards—Miles shows that a movement has begun to hold these doctors accountable and to return them to their proper role as promoters of health and human rights. Miles’s groundbreaking portrayal exposes the thinking and psychology of these doctors, and his investigation points to how the international human rights community and the medical community can come together to end these atrocities.

Table of Contents



Part I: Meet the Torture Doctors

1. Dr. Chand Sees a Burned Boy

2. Who Are the Torture Doctors?

3. What Is Torture?

4. What Is a Torture Doctor?

Part II: A Time of Impunity

5. Judging the Nazi Doctors

6. A Global Map of Torture Doctors

7. The Paradox of the United Kingdom

Part III: Humanists and Healers

8. Humanists for Human Rights

9. Healers for Human Rights

10. Organized Medicine's Condemn and Abide

Part IV: The Dawn of Accountability

11. Innovations

12. Globalization

13. Impunity and the US War on Terror

14. Promoting Accountability

Appendix: Behavioral Examples of Torture Doctoring


Bibliographic Note


About the Author


"It is a slim volume, but it reads as encyclopaedic. Miles doggedly tracked down cases of medical participation in torture worldwide."—The Lancet

"The Torture Doctors offers a concise and valuable account of physician participation in interrogation, particularly in the era of new wars: asymmetric conflict, the global war on terror, and civil war."—Bioethics

"The Torture Doctors is a work of great scholarship, an essential piece of documentation and review likely to be seminal."—Human Rights Quarterly

"A detailed work of substantial and meticulous scholarship, The Torture Doctors is highly recommended for both community and academic library medical ethics and human rights collections."—Midwest Book Review

"[Steven Miles’s] book is an exhaustively researched study in which he pursues his ongoing campaign to hold to account and bring to justice those doctors who, in virtually every nation in the world, assist in aiding governmental torture of their enemies, often their own citizens."—Morning Star for Peace and Socialism

"Miles examines the torture doctor as ‘healer and beast,’ revealing how the two parts ‘make a distinctive whole.’ His data-driven narrative of descent into medical hell is a journey of the soul we can dare with Miles as our unfrightened guide—engaging us to challenge torture doctors in our own regimes."—Jean Maria Arrigo, 2015 AAAS Award Winner for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility

"A brutal exposure of medicine’s global torture maze by a master researcher."—George Annas, Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health

"This book, a necessary read, confronts courts, medical boards and professional associations and asks for an end to this practice of looking the other way."—The Torture Journal

"The Torture Doctors is a valuable resource and a vital addition to the fields of Bioethics and Human Rights."—Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books


Supplemental Materials


Runner-up for the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards of the Independent Publisher

About the Author

Steven H. Miles, MD, is a professor emeritus of medicine and bioethics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He previously managed the Doctors Who Torture Accountability Project and is a past president of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, from which he received the Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. His books include Oath Betrayed: America’s Torture Doctors and The Hippocratic Oath and the Ethics of Medicine.

224 pp., 6 x 9
1 figure, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-752-0
Mar 2020

224 pp., 6 x 9
1 figure, 2 tables
Mar 2020

224 pp.
1 figure, 2 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-754-4
Mar 2020

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