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Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe pain or
suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective ...

suffering
on a person. Torture has been carried out or sanctioned by individuals, groups, and states throughout history from ancient times to modern day, and forms of torture can vary greatly in duration from only a few minutes to several days or longer. Reasons for torture can include
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an —in contexts ranging from to —as a response and deterrent to a particular action or that is deemed undesirable or unacceptab ...

punishment
,
revenge Revenge is committing a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance A grievance () is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint. In the past, the word meant the infli ...

revenge
,
extortion Extortion is the practice of obtaining benefit through coercion. In most jurisdictions it is likely to constitute a criminal offense; the bulk of this article deals with such cases. Robbery is the simplest and most common form of extortion, ...
,
persuasion Persuasion or persuasion arts is an umbrella term of Social influence, influence. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person's beliefs, Attitude (psychology), attitudes, intentions, motivations, or behaviors. Persuasion is studied in many di ...

persuasion
, political re-education, deterrence,
coercion Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. Intimidation is widely observed in animal behavior (particularly in a ritualiz ...
of the victim or a third party,
interrogation Interrogation (also called questioning) is interviewing as commonly employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, intelligence agencies, organized crime syndicates, and terrorist organizations with the goal of eliciting useful informa ...

interrogation
to extract information or a
confession A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information th ...

confession
irrespective of whether it is
false False or falsehood may refer to: *False (logic), the negation of truth in classical logic *Lie or falsehood, a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement *false (Unix), a Unix command *False (album), ''False'' (album), a 1992 album by ...
, or simply the sadistic gratification of those carrying out or observing the torture. Some individuals derive intense sexual pleasure from torturing others or being tortured themselves, either literally or in elaborate fantasies. Alternatively, some forms of torture are designed to inflict
psychological pain Psychological pain, mental pain, or emotional pain is an unpleasant feeling (a suffering) of a psychological, non-physical origin. A pioneer in the field of suicidology, Edwin S. Shneidman, described it as "how much you hurt as a human being. It i ...
or leave as little physical injury or evidence as possible while achieving the same psychological devastation. The torturer may or may not kill or injure the victim, but torture may result in a
deliberate death
deliberate death
and serves as a form of
capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone is punished with the death penalty is called a de ...

capital punishment
. Depending on the aim, even a form of torture that is intentionally fatal may be prolonged to allow the victim to suffer as long as possible (such as
half-hanging thumbnail, 150px, Half-hanging of United Irishmen in 1798. Half-hanging is a method of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to twist, to torment) is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffer ...
). In other cases, the torturer may be indifferent to the condition of the victim. Although torture is sanctioned by some states, it is prohibited under
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
and the
domestic laws Municipal law is the national, domestic, or internal law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and inf ...
of most countries. Although widely illegal and reviled, there is an ongoing debate as to what exactly is and is not legally defined as torture. It is a serious violation of
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
, and is declared to be illegal by Article 5 of the
UN
UN
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
. Signatories of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977 officially agree not to torture captured persons in
armed conflicts War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or paramilitary groups such as Mercenary, mercenaries, Insurgency, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence ...
, whether international or internal. Torture is also prohibited for the signatories of the
United Nations Convention Against Torture The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nation ...
, which has 163 state parties. National and international legal prohibitions on torture derive from a consensus that torture and similar ill-treatment are immoral, as well as impractical, and information obtained by torture is less reliable than that obtained by other techniques."General Says Less Coercion of Captives Yields Better Data"
NY Times ''The New York Times'' (''NYT'' or ''NY Times'') is an American daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink wi ...
7 September 2004
David Rose (16 December 2008
"Reckoning"
Vanity Fair. Retrieved on 7 June 2009.
Despite these findings and international conventions, organizations that monitor abuses of human rights (e.g.,
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is a non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at th ...

Amnesty International
, the
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), is an independent, international health professional organization that promotes and supports the rehabilitation of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to tw ...
,
Freedom from Torture Freedom from Torture (previously known as The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture) is a British registered charity which provides therapeutic care for survivors of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to ...
, etc.) report widespread use condoned by states in many regions of the world. Amnesty International has estimated that 141 countries carried out torture between 2009 and 2013.


Definitions

According to the United Nations
Convention against Torture The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Natio ...
, torture is defined as the deliberate infliction of severe pain or suffering on a powerless victim. The treatment must be inflicted for a specific purpose, such as forcing the victim to confess, provide information, or to punish them. In general, torture is inflicted in order to break the victim's will. Exactly what that means in practice, and what methods can be considered torture, has been disputed.


History

In the study of the history of torture, some authorities rigidly divide the history of torture ''per se'' from the history of capital punishment, while noting that most forms of capital punishment are extremely painful. Torture grew into an ornate discipline, where calibrated violence served two functions: to investigate and produce confessions and to attack the body as a form of punishment. Entire populaces of towns would show up to witness an execution by torture in the public square. Those who had been "spared" torture were commonly locked barefooted into the stocks, where children took delight in rubbing
feces Feces ( faeces) is the solid or semi-solid remains of food that was not digested in the , and has been broken down by bacteria in the . Feces contains a relatively small amount of products such as bacterially altered , and dead epithelial cel ...

feces
into their hair and mouths. Deliberately painful methods of torture and execution for severe crimes were taken for granted as part of justice until the development of
Humanism Humanism is a philosophical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. The meaning of the term ''humanism'' has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have ident ...

Humanism
in
17th-century philosophy The 17th century was the century A century is a period of 100 years. Centuries are numbered ordinally in English and many other languages. The word ''century'' comes from the Latin ''centum'', meaning ''one hundred''. ''Century'' is sometimes ab ...
, and "
cruel and unusual punishment Cruelty is pleasure in inflicting suffering or inaction towards another's suffering when a clear remedy is readily available. Sadomasochism, Sadism can also be related to this form of action or concept. Cruel ways of inflicting suffering may inv ...
" came to be denounced in the
English Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a , namely, the , the ...
of 1689. The
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and .
Western world
further developed the idea of universal
human rights Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford Encyclopedia of PhilosophyHuman Rights Retrieved 14 August 2014 for ...
. The adoption of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
in 1948 marks the recognition at least nominally of a general ban of torture by all UN member states.


Antiquity

Judicial torture was probably first applied in Persia, either by
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
or
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, , translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient based in founded by . Ranging at its greatest extent from the and proper in the west to the in the east, it ...

Achaemenid Empire
. Prisoners of war had their tongues torn out and were flayed or burned alive. This served the tangential objective of persuading the next city to surrender without a struggle. Over time torture has been used as a means of reform, inducing public terror, interrogation, spectacle, and sadistic pleasure. The
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
and
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
used torture for interrogation. Until the 2nd century AD, torture was used only on
slave Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that gives ...

slave
s (with a few exceptions). After this point it began to be extended to all members of the
lower classes
lower classes
. A slave's testimony was admissible ''only'' if extracted by torture, on the assumption that slaves could not be trusted to reveal the truth voluntarily. This torture occurred to break the bond between a master and his slave. Slaves were thought to be incapable of lying under torture.


Middle Ages

Medieval and early modern European courts used torture, depending on the crime of the accused and his or her social status. Torture was deemed a legitimate means to extract confessions or to obtain the names of accomplices or other information about a crime, although many confessions were greatly invalid due to the victim being forced to confess under great agony and pressure. It was permitted by law only if there was already
half-proofHalf-proof ''(semiplena probatio)'' was a concept of medieval Roman law, describing a level of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things are undoubted. There are two kind of ev ...
against the accused. Torture was used in continental Europe to obtain
corroborating evidence Corroborating evidence (or corroboration) is evidence that tends to support a proposition that is already supported by some initial evidence, therefore confirming the proposition. For example, W, a witness, testifies that she saw X drive his automob ...
in the form of a confession when other evidence already existed. Often, defendants already sentenced to death would be tortured to force them to disclose the names of accomplices. Torture in the
Medieval Inquisition The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisition, Inquisitions (Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184, including the Episcopal Inquisition (1184–1230s) and later the Papal Inquisition (1230s). The Medieval ...
began in 1252 with a papal bull ''
Ad Extirpanda''Ad extirpanda'' (named for its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
'' and ended in 1816 when another
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle a ...
forbade its use. Although the torture that was sanctioned by the bull was less severe than the torture that could be found in contemporary secular courts. A highly esteemed torture in the times of the Inquisition as a good means of interrogating "taciturn" heretics and wizards was the interrogation chair. Torture was usually conducted in secret, underground dungeons. By contrast, torturous executions were typically public, and woodcuts of English prisoners being
hanged, drawn and quartered To be hanged, drawn and quartered became a statutoryA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichha ...

hanged, drawn and quartered
show large crowds of spectators, as do paintings of Spanish
auto-da-fé An ''auto-da-fé'' (from Portuguese , meaning 'act of faith') was the ritual of public penance carried out between the 15th and 19th centuries of condemned heretics and apostates imposed by the Spanish, Portuguese, or Mexican Inquisition ...
executions, in which heretics were burned at the stake. Torture was also used during this period as a means of reform, spectacle, to induce fear into the public, and most popularly as a punishment for treason. Medieval torture devices were varied. One old English chronicle from the Early Medieval period reads, "They hanged them by the thumbs, or by the head, and hung fires on their feet; they put knotted strings about their heads and writhed them so that it went to the brain ... Some they put in a chest that was short, and narrow, and shallow, and put sharp stones therein, and pressed the man therein so that they broke all his limbs ... I neither can nor may tell all the wounds or all the tortures which they inflicted on wretched men in this land." Tortures later in the Middle Ages consisted of whipping; the crushing of thumbs, feet, legs, and heads in iron presses; burning the flesh; and tearing out teeth,
fingernails A nail is a claw-like keratinous plate at the tip of the fingers and toes in most primates. Nails correspond to claws found in other animals. Fingernails and toenails are made of a tough protective protein called alpha-keratin which is a polymer a ...
, and toenails with red-hot iron forceps. Limb-smashing and drowning were also popular medieval tortures. Specific devices were also created and used during this time, including the rack, the Pear (also mentioned in Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) as " Choak 'sic.''Pears," and described as being "formerly used in Holland"), thumbscrews, animals like rats, the iron chair, and the cat o nine tails. However, remains of an
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the coastlands of . However, the of the Anglo-Saxons occurred within Britain, and the ide ...
ostracized girl aged between 15 and 18 years old, dated back to between 776 and 899 AD, were discovered in
Basingstoke Basingstoke ( ) is the largest town in the county of Hampshire. It is situated in south central England, and lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon at the far western edge of The North Downs. It is located northeast of Southampt ...
in the 1960s, which showed evidence of facial
disfigurement , which causes much harm to the skin. Disfigurement is the state of having one's appearance deeply and persistently harmed medically, such as from a disease, birth defect A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a condition presen ...
, including a cut across her mouth that removed her lips, a cut that had her nose cut off, and another cut across her forehead; such punishments were also related to adulteresses and to slaves caught stealing.


Early modern period

During the early modern period, the torture of witches took place. In 1613,
Anton Praetorius Anton Praetorius (1560 – 6 December 1613) was a Germany, German Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that fo ...
described the situation of the prisoners in the dungeons in his book ''Gründlicher Bericht Von Zauberey und Zauberern'' (''Thorough Report about Sorcery and Sorcerers''). He was one of the first to protest against all means of torture. While secular courts often treated suspects ferociously,
Will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...

Will
and Ariel Durant argued in ''The Age of Faith'' that many of the most vicious procedures were inflicted upon pious
heretics Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religio ...
by even more pious friars. The
Dominicans Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic ( , stress on the "mi"), on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean ** People of the Dominican Republic ** Demographics of the Domin ...
gained a reputation as some of the most fearsomely innovative torturers in medieval Spain. Torture was continued by
Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. ...
during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
against teachers who they viewed as
heretics Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religio ...
. In 1547
John Calvin John Calvin (; Middle French Middle French (french: moyen français) is a historical division of the French language French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language fami ...

John Calvin
had Jacques Gruet arrested in
Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Carouge Carouge () is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. History Carouge is first mentioned in the Early Middle Ages as ''Quadruvium'' and ''Quatruvio''. In 1248 ...

Geneva
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = under an , leader_title1 = , leader_name1 = , leader_title2 = , leader_name2 = , legislatur ...

Switzerland
. Under torture he confessed to several crimes including writing an anonymous letter left in the pulpit which threatened death to Calvin and his associates. The Council of Geneva had him beheaded with Calvin's approval.Calvin to
William Farel William Farel (1489 – 13 September 1565), Guilhem Farel or Guillaume Farel (), was a French evangelist, Protestant reformer and a founder of the Reformed Church Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Refor ...
, 20 August 1553
Bonnet, Jules (1820–1892)
''Letters of John Calvin'', Carlisle, Penn:
Banner of Truth Trust The Banner of Truth Trust is an evangelical Evangelicalism (), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the essence of ...
, 1980, pp. 158–159. .
Suspected witches were also tortured and burnt by Protestant leaders, though more often they were banished from the city, as well as suspected spreaders of the plague, which was considered a more serious crime. In England the trial by
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
developed considerable freedom in evaluating evidence and condemning on
circumstantial evidence Circumstantial evidence is evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from fi ...

circumstantial evidence
, making torture to extort confessions unnecessary. For this reason, in England, a regularized system of judicial torture never existed and its use was limited to political cases. Torture was in theory not permitted under English law, but in
Tudor Tudor most commonly refers to: * House of Tudor, English royal house of Welsh origins ** Tudor period, a historical era in England coinciding with the rule of the Tudor dynasty Tudor may also refer to: Architecture * Tudor architecture, the fi ...

Tudor
and early Stuart times, under certain conditions, torture was used in England. For example, the confession of Marc Smeaton at the trial of
Anne Boleyn Anne Boleyn (; 1501 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of En ...

Anne Boleyn
was presented in written form only, either to hide from the court that Smeaton had been tortured on the rack for four hours, or because
Thomas Cromwell Thomas Cromwell, (; 1485 – 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the King ...

Thomas Cromwell
was worried that he would recant his confession if cross-examined. When
Guy Fawkes Guy Fawkes (; 13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial Catholic Church in England and Wales, English Catholics who was involved in the failed Gu ...

Guy Fawkes
was arrested for his role in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 he was tortured until he revealed all he knew about the plot. This was not so much to extract a confession, which was not needed to prove his guilt, but to extract from him the names of his fellow conspirators. By this time torture was not routine in England and a special warrant from King
James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and King of Ireland, Ireland as James I from the Union of the Crowns, union of the Scottish and En ...

James I
was needed before he could be tortured. The wording of the warrant shows some concerns for humanitarian considerations, specifying that the severity of the methods of interrogation were to be increased only gradually until the interrogators were sure that Fawkes had told all he knew. The
privy council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
attempted to have John Felton who stabbed
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham George may refer to: People * George (given name) George (, ) is a masculine given name derived from the Greek language, Greek Georgios, Geōrgios (; , ). The name gained popularity due to its association with the Christian martyrs, Christian ...

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
to death in 1628 questioned under torture on the rack, but the judges resisted, unanimously declaring its use to be contrary to the laws of England. Torture was abolished in England around 1640 (except ''
peine forte et dure ' (Law French for "hard and forceful punishment") was a method of torture formerly used in the common law legal system, in which a defendant who refused to plead ("stood mute") would be subjected to having heavier and heavier stones placed upon hi ...
'', which was abolished in 1772). In
Colonial America The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of North America from the early 17th century until the incorporation of the Thirteen Colonies into the United States of America, after the American Revolu ...
, women were sentenced to the
stocks Stocks are feet restraining devices that were used as a form of and . Form and application The stocks, , and pranger each consist of large wooden boards with hinges; however, the stocks are distinguished by their restraint of the feet. The s ...

stocks
with wooden clips on their tongues or subjected to the " dunking stool" for the gender-specific crime of talking too much. Certain Native American peoples, especially in the area that later became the eastern half of the United States, engaged in the sacrificial torture of war captives. And Spanish colonial officials in what is today the southwestern United States and northern Mexico often resorted to torture to extract confessions from rebellious Native Americans, as evidenced by the case of the Pima leader Joseph Romero 'Canito' in 1686. In the 17th century, the number of incidents of judicial torture decreased in many European regions. Johann Graefe in 1624 published ''Tribunal Reformation'', a case against torture.
Cesare Beccaria Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria, Marquis of Gualdrasco and Villareggio (; 15 March 173828 November 1794) was an Italy, Italian criminologist, jurist, philosopher, economist and politician, who is widely considered one of the greatest thinkers of the ...

Cesare Beccaria
, an Italian lawyer, published in 1764 "An Essay on Crimes and Punishments", in which he argued that torture unjustly punished the innocent and should be unnecessary in proving guilt.
Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (; 21 November 169430 May 1778), known by his ''nom de plume A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a ...

Voltaire
(1694–1778) also fiercely condemned torture in some of his essays. While in Egypt in 1798,
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
wrote to Major-General Berthier regarding the validity of torture as an interrogation tool:
The barbarous custom of whipping men suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this method of interrogation, by putting men to the torture, is useless. The wretches say whatever comes into their heads and whatever they think one wants to believe. Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief forbids the use of a method which is contrary to reason and humanity.
European states abolished torture from their statutory law in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. England abolished torture in about 1640 (except
peine forte et dure ' (Law French for "hard and forceful punishment") was a method of torture formerly used in the common law legal system, in which a defendant who refused to plead ("stood mute") would be subjected to having heavier and heavier stones placed upon hi ...
, which England only abolished in 1772), Scotland in 1708,
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
in 1740, Denmark around 1770, Russia in 1774,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1776, Italy in 1786, France in 1788, and
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German dialects are spoken. This corresponds roughly to the hi ...

Baden
in 1831. Sweden was the first to do so in 1722 and the Netherlands did the same in 1798.
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
abolished torture in 1806 and
Württemberg Württemberg ( ; ) is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia upThe coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg shows the three lions passant of the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin th ...
in 1809. In Spain, the Napoleonic conquest put an end to torture in 1808. Norway abolished it in 1819 and Portugal in 1826. The last European jurisdictions to abolish legal torture were Portugal (1828) and the canton of
Glarus , neighboring_municipalities= Glarus Nord Glarus Nord is one of three municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administr ...

Glarus
in Switzerland (1851).


Since 1948

Modern sensibilities have been shaped by a profound reaction to the
war crimes A war crime is a violation of the laws of war The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war (''jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war de ...
and
crimes against humanity Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are purposefully committed as part of a widespread or systematic policy, directed against civilians, in times of war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A g ...
committed by the Axis Powers and Allies of World War II, Allied Powers in the Second World War, which have led to a sweeping international rejection of most if not all aspects of the practice. Even as many states engage in torture, few wish to be described as doing so, either to their own citizens or to the international community. A variety of devices bridge this gap, including state plausible deniability, denial, "secret police", "need to know", a denial that given treatments are torturous in nature, appeal to various laws (national or international), the use of judicial jurisdiction, jurisdictional argument and the claim of "overriding need". Throughout history and today, many states have engaged in torture, albeit unofficially. Torture ranges from physical, psychological, political, interrogations techniques, and also includes rape of anyone outside of law enforcement.Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, War ... edited by Boris Drozðek, John P. Wilson According to scholar Ervand Abrahamian, although there were several decades of prohibition of torture that spread from Europe to most parts of the world, by the 1980s, the taboo against torture was broken and torture "returned with a vengeance," propelled in part by television and an opportunity to break political prisoners and broadcast the resulting public recantations of their political beliefs for "ideological warfare, political mobilization, and the need to win 'hearts and minds.'" In the years 2004 and 2005, over 16 countries were documented using torture. In an attempt to bring global awareness, Human Rights Watch has created an internet site to alert people to news and multimedia publications about torture occurring worldwide. The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims [IRCT] made a global analysis of torture based on [Amnesty International, 2001], [Human Rights Watch, 2003], [United Nations, 2002], [U.S. Department of State, 2002] yearly human rights reports. These reports showed that torture and ill-treatment are consistently report based on all four sources in 32 countries. At least two reports the use of torture and ill-treatment in at least 80 countries. These reports confirm the assumption that torture occurs in a quarter of the world's countries on a regular basis. This global prevalence of torture is estimated on the magnitude of particular high-risk groups and the amount of torture used by these groups. "Such groups comprise refugees and persons who are or have been under torture." According to professor Darius Rejali, although dictatorships may have used tortured "more, and more indiscriminately", it was modern democracies, "the United States, Britain, and France" who "pioneered and exported techniques that have become the lingua franca of modern torture: methods that leave no marks." The practice of torture used as the oppression against political opponents or could be a part of a criminal investigation or interrogation techniques in order to obtain the desired information and keep law enforcement empowered over everyday citizens. Torture still occurs in a small number of liberal democracies despite several international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture making torture illegal. Despite such international conventions, torture cases continue to arise such as the 2004 Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal committed by personnel of the United States Army. The U.S. Constitution and U.S. law prohibits the use of torture, yet such human rights violations occurred during the War on Terror under the euphemism Enhanced interrogation techniques, Enhanced interrogation. The United States revised the previous torture policy in 2009 under the Obama Administration. This revision revokes Executive Order 13440 of 20 July 2007, under which the incident at Abu Ghraib and prisoner abuse occurred. Executive Order 13491 of 22 January 2009 further defines United States policy on torture and interrogation techniques in an attempt to further prevent another torture incident. Yet apparently the practice continues, albeit outsourced.


Laws against torture

The prohibition of torture is a peremptory norm in public international law—meaning that it is forbidden under all circumstances. On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
(UDHR). Article 5 states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Since that time, a number of other international treaties have been adopted to prevent the use of torture. The most notable treaties relating to torture are the
United Nations Convention Against Torture The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nation ...
and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols I and II of 8 June 1977.


Municipal law

Sovereign state, States that ratified the
United Nations Convention Against Torture The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT)) is an international human rights treaty, under the review of the United Nation ...
have a treaty obligation to include the provisions into municipal law. The laws of many states therefore formally prohibit torture. However, such ''de jure'' legal provisions are by no means a proof that, ''de facto'', the signatory country does not use torture. To prevent torture, many legal systems have a right against self-incrimination or explicitly prohibit undue force when dealing with suspects. The French 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, of constitutional value, prohibits submitting suspects to any hardship not necessary to secure his or her person. The U.S. Constitution and U.S. law prohibits the use of unwarranted force or coercion against any person who is subject to interrogation, detention, or arrest. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution includes protection against self-incrimination, which states that "[n]o person...shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself". This serves as the basis of the Miranda warning, which Law enforcement in the United States, U.S. law enforcement personnel issue to individuals upon their arrest. Additionally, the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Eighth Amendment forbids the use of "cruel and unusual punishments," which is widely interpreted as prohibiting torture. Finally, 18 U.S.C. § 2340 ''et seq.'' define and forbid torture committed by U.S. nationals outside the United States or non-U.S. nationals who are present in the United States. As the United States recognizes customary international law, or the law of nations, the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act also provides legal remedies for victims of torture outside of the United States. Specifically, the status of torturers under the law of the United States, as determined by a famous legal decision in 1980, ''Filártiga v. Peña-Irala'', 630 Federal Reporter, F.2d 876 (United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2d Cir. 1980), is that, "the torturer has become, like the maritime piracy, pirate and the slave trader before him, hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind."


Purpose


Punishment

Torture for punishment dates back to antiquity and is still employed in the 21st century.


Confession

Judicial torture for the purpose of eliciting a confession has been used in antiquity and was common in pre-modern society, to the point that it is difficult to find a pre-modern state that did not use torture (against the accused, witnesses, and sometimes the plaintiff) in criminal cases. In Europe, torture was used less after a reduction in the expected level of proof to obtain a conviction, such that it was no longer necessary to torture for a confession. At the same time, improvements in investigation methods may have played a role in making torture obsolete. It continues to be used, especially in judicial systems placing high value on confession in criminal matters, or the state desires to persuade the population that torture victims forced to falsely confess are actually guilty. Under international law, a confession obtained under torture is not admissible in criminal proceedings.


Interrogation

Torture has been used throughout history for the purpose of obtaining information in
interrogation Interrogation (also called questioning) is interviewing as commonly employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, intelligence agencies, organized crime syndicates, and terrorist organizations with the goal of eliciting useful informa ...

interrogation
, although there is limited information available to scientists on its effectiveness. Neuroscientist Shane O'Mara (neuroscientist), Shane O'Mara found that "The evidence all points in the same direction: extreme stressors of the type used during torture impair cognition, memory, and mood in all of their phases." He states that information obtained from torture has historically been false or unreliable, while more accurate interrogation methods exist. The question of effectiveness of torture for interrogation is separate from discussion of whether it is effective for other uses. Public opinion on the use of torture for interrogation varies widely, with the lowest support recorded in West European countries and the highest support found in Turkey and South Korea (where most respondents supported the use of torture for interrogation) as well as in Kenya, Nigeria, and India among 31 countries surveyed between 2006 and 2008. A 2016 ICRC survey of 16 nations found that support for torture to obtain military information was highest in Israel, Nigeria, the U.S., and Iraq, and lowest in Yemen, Colombia, Switzerland, and China. A study by Jeremy D. Mayer, Naoru Koizumi, and Ammar Anees Malik found that opposition to the usage of torture in interrogation was correlated with stronger political rights but not economic development or the threat of terrorism.


State terrorism

Torture may also be used indiscriminately in detention sites for the purpose of terrorizing people other than the direct victim or deterring opposition to the government.


Methods and devices

List of torture methods and devices#Psychological torture methods, Psychological torture uses non-physical methods that cause psychological
suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective ...

suffering
. Its effects are not immediately apparent unless they alter the behavior of the tortured person. Since there is no international political consensus on what constitutes psychological torture, it is often overlooked, denied, and referred to by different names. Psychological torture is less well known than physical torture and tends to be subtle and much easier to conceal. In practice, the distinctions between physical and psychological torture are often blurred. Physical torture is the inflicting of severe pain or suffering on a person. In contrast, psychological torture is directed at the psyche with calculated violations of psychological needs, along with deep damage to psychological structures and the breakage of beliefs underpinning normal sanity. Torturers often inflict both types of torture in combination to compound the associated effects. Psychological torture also includes deliberate use of extreme psychological stress, stressors and situations such as mock execution, shunning, violation of deep-seated social or sexual norms and taboos, or extended solitary confinement. Because psychological torture needs no physical violence to be effective, it is possible to induce severe psychological pain, suffering, and Psychological trauma, trauma with no externally visible effects. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse are often used as methods of torture for interrogative or punitive purposes. In medical torture, medical practitioners use torture to judge what victims can endure, to apply treatments that enhance torture, or act as torturers in their own right. Josef Mengele and Shirō Ishii were infamous during and after World War II for their involvement in medical torture and murder. In recent years, however, there has been a push to end medical complicity in torture through both international and state-based legal strategies, as well as litigations against individual physicians. Pharmacological torture is the use of drugs to produce psychological or physical pain or discomfort. Tickle torture is an unusual form of torture which nevertheless has been documented, and can be both physically and psychologically painful. Widely used in the modern era, prison abuse, prison torture has also become a way of oppression, particularly in the Middle East. Egypt, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have operated detention centers in which the inmates were physically and psychologically tortured using electric shocks, isolation, beatings, threats of rape, and other techniques. The UAE has also operated secret prisons in Yemen, where it was involved in a proxy war. Abuse and torture in these prisons were normal. Detainees were tied to a spit and roasted in a circle of fire. From 18 of these clandestine lockups, the Al Munawara Central Prison in Mukalla, Mukalla City kept at least 27 individuals in detention, even when 13 of them had been granted acquittals and 11 had completed their full sentences.


Prevention and opposition

International organizations dedicated to the prevention of torture include the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. Also, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture requires state parties to establish National Preventive Mechanisms. These organizations work to prevent torture by visiting detention sites to provide scrutiny of possible abuses. According to the findings of Dr. Christian Davenport of the University of Notre Dame, Professor William Moore of Florida State University, and David Armstrong of Oxford University during their torture research, evidence suggests that non-governmental organizations have played the most determinant factor for stopping torture once it gets started. Preliminary research suggests that it is civil society, not government institutions, that can stop torture once it has begun. This inability to control abuse and torture in society creates an imperfect Democracy non-compliant with internationally agreed-upon standards for civil and political rights. In the 21st century, even when states sanction their interrogation methods, torturers often work outside the law. For this reason, some prefer methods that, while unpleasant, leave victims alive and unmarked. A victim with no visible damage may lack credibility when telling tales of torture, whereas a person missing fingernails or eyes can easily prove claims of torture. Mental torture, however, can leave scars just as deep and long-lasting as physical torture. Professional torturers in some countries have used techniques such as electrical shock, asphyxiation, heat, cold, noise, and sleep deprivation, which leave little evidence. However, the most common and prevalent form of torture worldwide in both developed and under-developed countries is beating.


Effects

Common effects of torture on the victim include chronic pain, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, Depression (mood), depression, and adjustment disorder, adjustment difficulties, although many survivors' symptoms do not align well with diagnostic categories. It continues to be debated whether PTSD diagnosis is a good fit for torture survivors or if torture results in unique problems. Torture victims often feel guilt and shame, triggered by the humiliation they have endured. Many feel that they have betrayed themselves or their friends and family. All such symptoms are normal human responses to abnormal and inhuman treatment. Current circumstances, such as the uncertainty of applying for asylum in a safe country, strongly impact survivors' well-being. Compared to survivors of other forms of trauma, torture survivors experience more post-traumatic growth, more resilience, and better adjustment, but were less physically healthy. The physical and mental after-effects of torture often place great strain on the entire family and society. Children are particularly vulnerable. They often suffer from feelings of guilt or personal responsibility for what has happened. In some instances, whole societies can be more or less traumatized where torture has been used in a systematic and widespread manner. In general, after years of repression, conflict and war, regular support networks and structures have often been broken or destroyed. The most common form of forensic identification of past torture is through skin lesions. However, not all torture methods leave physical scars; non-scarring methods such as rape or other sexual assault, waterboarding, or psychological torture may be chosen by states that deny their responsibility for torture.


Rehabilitation

Survivors of torture, their families, and others in the community may require long-term material, medical, psychological and social support. Anti torture groups recommend a coordinated effort that covers both physical and psychological aspects, including the patients' needs, problems, expectations, views, and cultural references. Rehabilitation centres around the world, notably the members of the
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), is an independent, international health professional organization that promotes and supports the rehabilitation of torture Torture (from Latin language, Latin ''tortus'': to tw ...
, commonly offer multi-disciplinary support and counselling, including medical attention / psychotherapeutic treatment, psychosocial support/trauma treatment, legal services and redress, and social reintegration. Dance and movement therapy has been found to be beneficial in aiding victims of torture and refugee trauma, specifically ''qigong'' and ''Tai chi, t'ai chi'' practices. The impact of this treatment can be found in the decreasing of psychological distress, nightmares and physical pain along with increasing mindfulness in the victims. In the case of asylum seekers and refugees, the services may also include assisting in the documentation of torture for the asylum decision, language classes and help in finding somewhere to live and work.


References


Sources

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Further reading


Books

* Campagna, Norbert; Delia, Luigi; Garnot, Benoît (2014), ''La Torture, de quels droits? Une pratique de pouvoir (XVIe-XXIe siècle)'', Paris: Éditions Imago. * * * Helbing, Franz: Die Torture. Geschichte der Folter im Kriminalverfahren aller Zeiten und Völker. Völlig neubearbeitet und ergänzt von Max Bauer, Berlin 1926 (Nachdruck Scientia-Verlag, Aalen 1973). * * * Parry, John T. (2010). ''Understanding Torture: Law, Violence, and Political Identity''. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. . * Peters, Edward, Torture, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996. * Reddy, Peter (2005). ''Torture: What You Need to Know'', Ginninderra Press, Canberra, Australia. * * * * * *


Articles

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External links

{{Authority control Torture, Abuse Human rights abuses Philosophy of law Ethically disputed judicial practices Suffering