U.S. Grants Asylum From Tanzania’s Treatment of Mental Illness, Calling it Torture


Tumaini Temu, whose breakdown following the death of his mother resulted in prolonged hospitalization, shackling, and beatings in his home of Tanzania, has been granted asylum under the U.S. Convention Against Torture.  “Throughout all his hospitalizations, the nurses referred to Mr. Temu as ‘mwenda wazimu (possessed by demons),'” the judge noted. “The record also shows that while binding Mr. Temu and bearing him with leather straps, the nurses at Muhimbili Hospital said on multiple occasions, ‘this is how we treat people who are mentally ill like you.’”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].