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Q: Are you aware that people around the world are tortured for voicing their opinions, using the web or tweeting?
A: Many people are tortured just for peacefully standing up for what they believe in, sending a text or speaking out online.
We campaign on behalf of those who have been imprisoned and tortured just for expressing their opinion. We demand that they are set free.
In July this year, Burmese activist Khun Kawrio was finally released. We had been campaigning for his freedom for four years. He had been sentenced to 37 years’ behind bars simply because he and some friends had peacefully campaigned for a ‘no’ vote on a constitution that was drafted by the former military government. For their simple acts of defiance they were arrested, tortured and sentenced by the military - without trial, judge or defence.
Q: What do you think constitutes torture?
Enforced listening to loud music
Being forced to inhale water
A: All the above. In some cases it would only be the repeated use of these techniques, or their use in combination, that would constitute torture.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is illegal. It (unsurprisingly) breaks the UN Convention against Torture. Despite this, every year we shed light torture being committed. Around the world people are being kept awake for days on end and forced to listen to loud music. They are being water-boarded or electrocuted. They are being raped. They are being kept isolated in tiny cells. Until this stops, we will keep documenting it and striving to hold the perpetrators to account.
Q: What are some of the arguments in favour of torture?
- To save the lives of others
- To get a confession
- To punish someone
A: All the above. Some argue that torture is necessary to get confessions that save lives. We believe that torture is never justified. And it is always illegal.
Q: What are some of the arguments against torture?
- It produces false intelligence
- It may limit the chance of a fair trial
- Torture is illegal under international law
- No ends justify torture as a means
A: All the above. As well as being illegal under international law, torture can result in false confessions and incorrect intelligence because misinformation is given to stop the torture. This, of course, limits the chance of a fair trial.
Q: Out of 198 countries in the world, how many have had reports of torture or ill-treatment by state officials?
Answer: 150. Want more information? Read our 2012 US Election briefing
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Watch: Torture can never be justified
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.