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The Phenomenon of Torture

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Chapter Summary

Torture has been prevalent, customary, and legally sanctioned in many civilisations throughout recorded history. It remains prevalent and customary in some societies, despite now being comprehensively outlawed. This chapter discusses the question of torture and abuse of terrorist suspects. Torture and ill-treatment of detainees is inflicted on people involved in, or suspected of being involved in, ordinary criminality. In fact some officials see it as an integral part of a criminal investigation, necessary to secure a ‘confession’ to a crime. Apart from those who engage in this inept, unprofessional and criminal practice it is rare to find anyone prepared to argue that it is acceptable. However some are prepared to argue that torturing or abusing people suspected of being involved in terrorism should be legally sanctioned, and this proposition is addressed in the chapter.

Keywords: kidnapped children; terrorist attacks; ticking bombs; torture; torture victims; torturers



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