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First Torture Treatment Center In U.S. Dedicated

May 29, 1987

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A stucco house near the University of Minnesota is now the official home of the United States’ first torture treatment center.

The Minnesota Center for Torture Victims was dedicated Thursday by Gov. Rudy Perpich and university President Kenneth Keller.

″The work of this center can convey to the world Minnesota’s spirit of compassion and can inspire other nations to emulate our concerns,″ the governor said.

Perpich hailed the center as ″a place where people from around the world can be trained in order to return to their communities and treat victims there in the most supportive environment.″

A non-profit corporation which operates the center leases the building that houses it from the university for $1 per year.

Making the building available to the torture center and doing research on torture victims is part of the larger role of a land-grant institution: doing more than merely educating students, Keller said.

As part of the dedication ceremony on the front lawn, four Buddhist monks, wearing tunics and sandals, chanted a prayer.

The refugee monks, Chhean Yong and Noeun Yin of Cambodia and Thongtap Keohanam and Phou Chanthalangsy of Laos, then went inside and sprinkled holy water in the rooms.

Renee Pan of the Cambodian Buddhist Society said the blessing is important for refugees from Southeast Asia who might be treated at the center.

″The room has been cleared spiritually of evil spirits,″ she said. ″When you treat people who believe in that they trust you.″

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