For the last seven years or so one topic that has been raised more frequently is torture, and in particular should the Police and Security Services be allowed to use torture when interrogating potential terror suspects.
To suggest that it is a good idea is not without merit – there are clear advantages to such a proposal. However, the negatives of permitting torture far out-weigh the benefits!
Firstly, if you are tortured for long enough and severe enough you will say anything they want you to. This could put other innocent people at risk as you give names of co-conspirators or just confess to the crime they say you are committing. Your sole purpose in doing this is not to tell the truth, but to make the pain and suffering stop.
Statistically people are racially profiled when looking into terrorism (especially in the wake of the World Trade Centre Attack in 2001). It is not on that we could be subjecting innocent people to a vile process just because of their race!
Then we must look at the statistics of terror arrests. Between the WTC Attack and early 2005 there were almost 1,200 arrests under ant-terror legislation. Only 40 have led to, and more than half the suspects held have been released without any charge at all. The Police and the Security Services are not good enough at investigating and are arresting too many innocent citizens!
All 1,200 of these people would have been subjected the unacceptable conditions allowed under the Terrorism Act (which have become even more unacceptable). At the time they would have been subjected to interrogation for u to seven days with limited access to a lawyer and the other rights that other suspects have when in Police Custody.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 states:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a signatory to both treaties and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental is enshrined in domestic law in the form of the Human Rights Act 1998.
In recent times Human Rights have been blamed for a lot of bad (I fail to see how they can eve be considered bad, but that’s a topic for another time). However, here is a brilliant example of them doing nothing but good!
It doesn’t take much for a police officer or member of the security services to suspect you of terrorist offences and not much more to arrest you under the Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006.
There are some people who argue that it is better to torture a couple of innocent people in the pursuit of getting the real terrorist and that torture would help flush out the true terrorists! Those who do I pity you.
Tomorrow it could be you; would you like to be subjected to these abhorrent methods in order to extract “information” or “confession” from you? I think not. I’m sure if you were for torture and then were subjected to it you would soon change your mind!