Sunday, May 23, 2004
If it doesn't leave marks....
Is it still torture?
I recall once hearing an anecdote about a police officer who had elicited a confession from a suspect by handcuffing the suspect into an uncomfortable position, and forcing him to remain in that position until he confessed. The defense attorney claimed that the confession was false, and was given only in response to the severe pain inflicted by the officer, and sought to suppress the confession. The police officer insisted that he had done nothing wrong or coercive. The judge indicated to the officer that, if that was the case, surely he wouldn't mind giving his testimony while seated in the same position he had required the defendant to hold. The officer agreed. About fifteen minutes later, as the officer's visible discomfort grew unbearable, the court declared the confession to have been coerced.
This, as it turns out, is deemed by the Pentagon to be a "stress position", and apparently (along with simulated drowning and sleep deprivation) is an accepted "interrogation" technique in Iraq.