UN Special Rapporteur confirms torture of Ambassador Porter

At the beginning of this month, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, submitted a report to the Human Rights Council with observations on communications transmitted to Governments and replies received.


In this report, Mr Méndez found that Panama has violated Ambassador Arthur Porter's right to be free from torture and inhuman treatment. In other words, the UN has found that Ambassador Porter was tortured and inhumanly treated.


The Rapporteur accepted that Ambassador Porter had been deprived of his liberty without a judicial order of detention and that he had been subjected to inhuman and degrading circumstances, being kept in an overcrowded prison with scarce sanitary conditions without judicial supervision for more than one and a half years.


Moreover, Dr Arthur Porter has been denied the possibility of medical treatment for his condition of lung cancer. Dr Porter was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, that has spread to his liver, abdomen and bones, in January 2013. He was arrested by the Panamanian authorities in May 2013 and was sent to the notorious La Joya prison soon thereafter.


Méndez concluded that the Government of Panama, by keeping Ambassador Arthur Porter in conditions of inhuman and degrading detention and by denying him medical treatment for his condition of lung cancer, has violated his right not to be tortured or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as stated by Articles 1 and 16 of CAT.


The report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, is available here.


Ambassador Arthur Porter is represented by John Jones QC.

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