Fox25 in Boston continued their superb reporting on the Judge Rotenberg Center by talking to Juan Mendez, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture, about his investigation into the use of electrical shocks at the JRC:
Mendez knows well the subject of torture. He was a human rights lawyer during Argentina's dirty way, and was himself tortured with electricity.
Mendez is investigating after receiving a complaint from Disability Rights International, which examines treatment of the disabled around the world, including a 2010 report highly critical of the Judge Rotenberg Center.
"I imagine this isn't the typical type of complaint regarding torture that you receive?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked Mendez.
"No it isn't," Mendez replied. "Most cases I receive are about torture in the course of interrogations, for example, or for reasons of punishment. But the definition I have to operate under is very clear: that any pain and suffering inflicted on a person with the participation or complicity of state authorities might give rise to a concern under the (United Nations) convention against torture and therefore to a concern under my mandate."
The UN's special rapporteur on torture has asked the United States to investigate the Judge Rotenberg Center, and protesters are calling for the Massachusetts legislature to ban the use of electrical shocks on patients there.
The rapporteur plans to contact the US state department and has the option of reporting the matter to the UN human rights council.
Mendez said he was "very concerned" about the use of electric shocks, which are inflicted on autistic children through pads applied to their skin.
"The use of electricity on anyone's body raises the question of whether this is therapeutic or whether it inflicts pain and suffering tantamount to torture in violation of international law," he added.
About 70 people rallied yesterday at the Massachusetts State House:
“The effort to ban this practice has been going on for decades,” said state Senator Brian A. Joyce, a leading advocate for the ban in the Legislature, in an interview during the rally. “I’ve learned to temper my optimism with the reality that there are well-paid lawyers, lobbyists, and PR people defending the school. But I’m more hopeful than ever before that this will pass” because of support from Governor Patrick, the success of the new regulations, and the recent circulation of a video showing a student getting shocked.
Cheryl McCollins of Brooklyn told the crowd about her son’s experience with the shock treatment, which was caught on video.
“There’s video of my son being tortured,” McCollins said. “It’s mind-boggling. We’re trying to stop something that never should have started.”