A Clason Lecture

September 13, 2011

Jennifer Harbury, Esq.

U.S. Torture Practices: The Guatemala Experience



Drawing on her compelling personal experience, Harbury spoke about the capture and detainment of her husband, Mayan resistance leader Efrain Bámaca Velásquez, and her subsequent fight for human rights. Velásquez was captured alive by the Guatemalan military in 1992, before being tortured and ultimately executed without trial. Harbury’s battle to save her husband’s life led to the disclosure of a close working relationship between the United States CIA and the Central American death squads that included the practice of torturing paid informants. Harbury has since fought and won a trial at the Inter-American Court on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and continues to fight in the Guatemala court system.

Harbury is the author of three books about her experiences: Bridge of Courage (Common Courage Press, 1993), Searching for Everado (Warner Books, 1997), and Truth, Torture and the American Way (Beacon Press, 2005). She has received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the Cavallo Award for Moral Courage, and the Society of American Law Teachers Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award.