Forskning ved Københavns Universitet - Københavns Universitet


Physical and psychological sequelae to torture. A controlled clinical study of exiled asylum applicants

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

  • H P Hougen
The study comprised 24 male Lebanese refugees living in Denmark. Twelve of them alleged having been tortured in Lebanon during the period 1981-85. The remaining twelve had neither been imprisoned nor tortured and thus acted as control persons. All the testimonies were found to be valid according to a method previously used by the author. The most common forms of torture were blows against the head, body and foot soles, suspension and asphyxiation. Threats and solitary confinement were frequent, and sexual violations were also reported. At the time of examination (March-November 1986), the main complaints were headaches, various cardiopulmonary symptoms, sleep disturbances with nightmares, impaired concentration and memory, and emotional lability. Suicide attempts were reported. Prior to the torture all the probands had been healthy except for several cases of gunshot wounds. The clinical examination revealed different scars possibly related to torture in nearly all the cases. Missing or fractured teeth, peripheral nerve damage and mental depression were also found. The 12 controls had several mental and physical complaints, but significantly fewer than the probands. Almost all of them had scars from gunshot wounds. The present study clearly indicates that torture plus exilation has a more deteriorating effect on the health status than exilation alone.
TidsskriftForensic Science International
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)5-11
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - okt. 1988

ID: 44516054