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Torture As An Interrogation Tactic

Torture has been used throughout history for the purpose of obtaining information in interrogation, although there is limited information available to scientists on its effectiveness. Torture, while widely illegal and a violation of international law, has been frequently cited as generating false or misleading information and tending to impair subsequent information collection.

Governments that have used torture for interrogation on a large scale have not disclosed systematic information on how their torture programs were carried out, hampering efforts to investigate their effectiveness by those who lack access to classified information.

Young and Kearns state that:
Experiments on whether or not torture is effective are extremely challenging to implement in a safe yet realistic way.

Ethical research studies require the informed consent of participants, making it impossible to experiment with nonconsensual torture. In his book Why Torture Doesn�t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara argues that coercive interrogation and torture damage the areas of the brain that recall information.

Is torture illegal?

  • Torture and abusive interrogation tactics are illegal under both U.S. law and international law. Torture is prohibited under federal law, as are lesser forms of detainee abuse such as cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. On his second day in office, President Obama issued an executive order strengthening the ban on torture and limiting interrogators to the tactics in the Army Field Manual. And in 2015, the McCain-Feinstein anti-torture amendment was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan vote, solidifying the ban laid out in the president's order.
  • Even if those laws are changed, U.S. interrogators are still bound by the Constitution � courts have cited the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments as protecting suspects from torture. And in international law, the United States is bound by the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which bar torture and abuse of prisoners.

Does Torture Work?

Experienced interrogators and intelligence experts say that using torture and abuse in interrogations is not an effective way to elicit reliably truthful information. According to a statement by 25 former interrogators and intelligence professionals from the U.S. military and other federal agencies (including the CIA, FBI, DEA, and NCIS).

The application of psychological, emotional, and/or physical pressure can force a victim of torture to say anything just to end the painful experience. The challenge of interrogation is not �to make people talk�; instead, it is to obtain precise and credible information.

Neurological science also shows that torture and abuse are ineffective ways to interrogate prisoners. In fact, according to neuroscience professor Shane O�Mara, abusive interrogation techniques (both physical and psychological) can �compromise memory, mood, and cognitive function,� which are essential to eliciting accurate information.

Protections provided under the Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal code also entails a section that protects the interest of those under custody.

Section 330� This Section criminalizes custodial torture. Under this whosoever voluntarily causes hurt for the purpose of extorting from the sufferer information about the crime he/she did shall be punished with imprisonment of a term, which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to pay fine. For example- if a police officer causes hurt to an accused while he is in custody, to induce him to point out where the stolen property is, he shall be guilty of this crime.

Similarly, Section 331 of the act criminalizes the grievous hurt caused to the accused for extorting evidence.

Now, these are cases where the validity of the arrest is not in question, and the only use of force to take out confessions from the accused has been put in question. Section 340 to the act criminalizes wrongful confinement. Whoever wrongfully confines another person so that the person cannot go beyond a circumscribing limit, is said to commit the crime of wrongful confinement.

Section 348 to the Act, provides punishment to a person who wrongfully confines any person and then extorts any confession. The Section also punishes extortion committed to extract information leading to the detection of offence or misconduct.

The question of Police torture is one that does not only confine itself with the physical and mental torture that the accused might have to suffer but also to the ramifications of such act. Police investigation is essential for the process of finding the real perpetrators but there is a need to strike a balance between police investigative powers and personal liberty.

Written By: Mr.Sujoy Paul (BBA-LLB)
Ph. no: 7029253050

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