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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ruddock: Sleep Deprivation `Not Torture'

Philip Ruddock, interviewed on this weekend's Insiders about the new trial plans for Guantanamo Bay detainees, claims that sleep deprivation is not torture, but a legitimate coercive technique.

Well, is it?

Experts on torture tend to disagree. The Geneva Convention itself is hazy on the topic, though it does prohibit `any form of torture or cruelty' to prisoners of war' - something the US has neatly sidestepped by declaring Guantanamo Bay detainees `enemy combatants'. Human Rights Watch have identified the difficulty in defining a `cruel and inhuman' practice as a barrier - and perhaps a deliberate one - to enforcement. Recent legislation passed in the US Senate does nothing to assist this problem.

But let's put all of this aside. Sleep deprivation is considered reasonable by the Ruddocks and Rumsfelds of this world on the basis that it may help extract evidence that will foil major terrorist attacks and save lives. The effects of sleep deprivation can be profound - hallucination, psychosis, hearing voices, and unawareness of time and place.

Sounds like the perfect way to elicit an iron-clad, perfectly accurate, legitimate confession from someone, doesn't it?

Sleep deprivation is not only inhumane, it's a stupid way of gaining evidence. If world leaders don't have sufficient humanity to work out what's torture and what isn't, perhaps the Convention needs to be redrafted to take recent international developments into account.


At 2:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who knows where our esteemed Attorney General lives needs to pop round to his house during the night and shine bright light in his bedroom window or play some loud music a few times each hour (say every 20 minutes for a few nights) and see how he feels about it then. No, really.

At 2:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who knows where our esteemed Attorney General lives needs to pop round to his house during the night and shine bright light in his bedroom window or play some loud music a few times each hour (say every 20 minutes for a few nights) and see how he feels about it then. No, really.

At 7:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Others on Rudduck's list

Removing body parts - not toture if sown back on.

Anything mentioned in the bible - not torture (King James Approved Version only)

X-Rays - we are not torturing him we are curing him of an unknown undetected cancer

Dropping people from helicopters - a testing of gravity.

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