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Work in pairs. What do you think the answers are to these questions?
In 1996 there were 171 countries in the world:
1.In h o w many countries did people in prison o r police custody suffer torture o r ill-treatment?
a. 24 6. 67 c. 124?
2. In h o w many countries did people die a s a result of torture o r inhuman prison conditions?
a. 16 b. 46 c. 82?
Find out the answers from your teacher and then discuss these questions:
1. D o the figures surprise o r shock you o r are they w h a t you would expect?
2. Do you think the figures would be better o r worse for this year? O r a b o u t the same?
3. In which countries would you expect t o find torture happening?
4. W h a t about your o w n country?

Read the articles through quickly and answer the questions below:
Which countries are mentioned in connection with torture?
Do a n y of the articles surprise you? Which? W h y ?


In Chile in 1975, Dr Sheila Cassidy A recent Human Rights Watch TORTURE
was beaten, stripped and given report, examining policing in 14 of France became the first European
electric shocks all over her body, America's biggest cities, contains country convicted of torture when
forcing her to give the name of a some shocking statistics. Following the European Court of Human
priest who had asked her for help. 11,000 civil rights complaints Rights found it guilty of torturing a
She was later released as a result of against the police last year, only 29 suspected drug dealer during
police officers were punished. Crime
protests from Britain. Yesterday she questioning. The man was beaten in
in New York has halved since 1993,
spoke out following the arrest of an effort to obtain more information
but complaints about police abuse
General Pinochet, the 84-year-old are up by 50%. about his suppliers. The court
ex-dictator of Chile. "I think In one case, a suspect was choked to described his treatment at the hands
imprisonment for the rest of his life death when arrested by a police of five police officers as being 'of
would be appropriate. I know he is officer in 1994. The officer was a particularly cruel and serious
an old man and he is fragile, but so cleared of manslaughter, but the case nature7making it 'torture' under the
were the pregnant women who were exposed the police to widespread European Convention on Human
raped and tortured," she said. criticism. Rights.

Read the articles again and answer these questions:

1. W h y w a s Sheila Cassidy tortured?
2. W h a t was 'shocking' a b o u t the H u m a n Rights Watch report?
3. W h a t information did the French police w a n t ?

Discuss these questions in small groups:
1. D o you think t h a t the conduct of the US police might sometimes actually be 'torture'?
2. H o w would you define 'torture'?
3. Do you feel t h a t any of the cases of torture mentioned above might in any w a y be justified?
4. Do you think the police in your country torture suspects a n d k n o w n criminals?

9 Torture Taboos and Issues

Language 1 Language 2
Put the words in italics in the right order to make Complete the article below using the phrases
prepositional phrases. from the previous exercise.
1. She was later released ................... LIFE FOR THE TORTURE TWO
protests from Britain. (of as result a)
The trial of Justin Mathers and Gary Barstow,
2. I think imprisonment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . both accused of murder and torture, finished
his life would be appropriate. (of rest the for) today at Brigham Crown Court. (1). . . . . . . .
3. A suspect was choked to death ........... the six-week trial, the jury had heard evidence of
. . . . . . . . . . . a police officer. some of the most horrible crimes ever described
(with interview in an) in a courtroom. They had also seen photographs
4. The man was beaten. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . of injuries suffered ( 2 ) . . . . . . . . these two men.
obtain more information about his suppliers. Both men were found guilty. The judge passed
(to an effort in) sentence immediately, saying: " (3) . . . . . . . the
horror of your crimes, I have no hesitation in
5. His treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . five
sending you to prison (4) . . . . . . . . your lives.
police officers was 'of a particularly cruel and
serious nature'. (of the hands at) (5) . . . . . . . . . your actions, five people were
permanently injured and seven were killed. Two
6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . firm evidence, men and three women lost their partners; a dozen
he was released from prison. (of the in absence) children lost their parents.
7. The government had no choice but to arrest After your arrest, (6) . . . . . . . . the police, you
him . . . . . . . . . . what he was writing said that you had enjoyed committing these awful
them in the foreign press, but they lived to crimes. Therefore, ( 7 ) . . . . . . . . give you a .
regret their actions. (of in view) punishment that matches the awfulness of what
8. All political prisoners will have been released you have done, and, (8) . . . . . . . . any remorse
. . . . . . . . . . . . . the year. (end the by of) from you, I sentence you to life imprisonment."

"No-one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,

inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Article 5. United Nations. 1984.

Work in small groups. Look at the situations below. Discuss how much force, if any, it is acceptable for
the police or army to use in each situation in order to get what they want.

1. The police arrest someone for a bank robbery. 3. The police catch a member of a terrorist
They are absolutely certain they have the organisation. He knows the names of other
person responsible, and he already has a members of the organisation. He also has
criminal record, but at the moment they have information about where they have stores of
no evidence. They need a confession. They arms and explosives. This information will save
only have four hours to get one before he must lives.
be released.
4. Your country is at war. You capture a high-
2. A child has been kidnapped. The kidnappers ranking enemy soldier who has considerable
are threatening to kill the child if their knowledge of the enemy plans. This
demands are not met. The police catch one of information would certainly save the lives of
the kidnappers who knows where the child is many of your soldiers and possibly shorten the
being held. She refuses to tell the police. war.

Would your response to situation 2 be the same if the child was yours or a friend's?

Taboos and Issues Torture 9