Amnesty International published a list yesterday of 92 members of the medical profession who are imprisoned for their political beliefs in 25 countries.
The London-based human rights organization, winner of the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize, said many are held without trial and some have been tortured. The list "is by no means comprehensive," it said.
Detentions were not necessarily "a direct result of their medical duties," the Amnesty report said, but it gave this explanation.
"Medical personnel are daily in touch with acute individual suffering, which in many cases leads to work in a broader social context - work that sometimes challenges political decisions about their country's distribution of health facilities or abuses of their profession for political purposes."
As an example of such an abuse, the report cited the case of Soviet psychiatrist Semyon Gluzman, "who refused to compromise his medical ethics and protested against the forced internment of sane political dissidents in Soviet psyciatric hospitals."
Gluzman, 29, was arrested in 1972 after underground documents allegedly were found in his possession. He is now serving in a labor camp and is one of 11 Soviet medical persons listed by Amnesty.
The largest group on the list is of Indonesian medical prisoners, with 13. Their detention, in most cases for 12 years, is because, "the government suspects them of being Communists," Amnesty said.
Seven Argentine and six Chilean medical prisoners are included, most of them adopted as "prisoners of conscience" by the organization - which encourages local committees to write the governments involved seeking the prisoners' release.
The American Public Health Association, at a meeting here earlier this month, heard testimony by exiled doctors on another human rights abuse: They testified that hundreds of Chilean and Argentine medical professionals have been forced into exile. Others have chosen to live abroad because of conditions under military governments at home.
Dr. Silva Bermann, former president of the Argentine Federation of Psychiatrists, listed eight psychiatrists who had either been arrested or disappeared, none of whom figures in the Amnesty report.