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August 4, 1993

Psychological Disturbances Among 47 Croatian Prisoners of War Tortured in Detention Camps

JAMA. 1993;270(5):575. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510050041012

To the Editor.  —As medical professionals providing immediate health care to Croatian prisoners of war (POWs) released from detention camps in Serbia or occupied parts of Croatia,1 we witnessed grave violations of their human rights. Of the 5261 POWs released by February 1993, the majority reported being tortured.We present a few of our findings, regarding a group of 47 POWs. These were members of the Croatian Army from Vukovar who had been severely tortured, both physically and psychologically, in a detention camp in the occupied area of Croatia. All were beaten and denied any information about their families. Most experienced other classic forms of torture2 including forced body position, mock executions, hard labor, and blackmail. Half were forced to eat salt without being allowed to drink water, or they had salt put in incision wounds made on their thighs. Twenty-three percent were tortured by exposure to cold,