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ANALYSIS: Torture Still Flourishes Globally Driven by Ineffective Policing

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In breach of the UN Convention, torture and ill-treatment have been reported in 141 countries from every corner of the world by Amnesty International, with experts pointing to poor policing as the core reason for this dehumanizing development.

MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti), Nikita Alentyev – In breach of the UN Convention, torture and ill-treatment have been reported in 141 countries from every corner of the world by Amnesty International, with experts pointing to poor policing as the core reason for this dehumanizing development.

“There is a number of drivers behind this despicable practice with certain motives specific to some countries. The more general case is poor policing, as there are certain countries that don’t know how to conduct proper practices. It is much easier for authorities in such places to get the needed confession – which in many cases has little or no credibility – through torture, than carry out an effective investigation. Such “lazy” policing results in the outrageous extent of torture today,” Michael Garcia Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for International Law and Policy told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

Using ill-treatment and torture as a shortcut to justice seems a sensible explanation to Widney Brown, Director of Programs at Physicians for Human Rights, who also spoke to RIA Novosti about the Tuesday report.

“When people demand a response to the crime rates, rather than investing in the training of police to effectively investigate crimes, the tendency is to want to “round up the usual suspects”; get confessions through coercion (torture and ill-treatment) and subject the suspects to harsh punishments which is then touted as an effective response to crime,” she said, warning of a dangerous catch inherent to this approach, as “crime rates remain high and there is a loss of trust in the criminal justice system.”

The more shocking revelation, according to Michael Bochenek, is that “countries with enough resources and sufficient evidence that common sense safeguards significantly decrease the number of tortures are far too often in breach of such practices.”

“The safeguards against torture, indeed, should be common knowledge, such as allowing immediate access to a lawyer, or insuring the necessary medical assistances. Judges should be aware of the evidence obtained through torture and never use it in court,” Bochenek said, outlining solutions given in the Amnesty international report.

As one of the examples, he drew on the situation in the USA, “the country with the highest percentage of its population behind bars, the highest number of crimes on record, and the most cruel form of detention – death row, with people spending years awaiting the final punishment with no knowledge of their fate tomorrow.”

Speaking for an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities, Widney Brown, gave a more specific and practice-oriented account of the ways to combat ill-treatment around the globe.

“Reports of torture and ill-treatment are often ignored or discounted by judges and prosecutors who say they do not know who to believe.  Physicians for Human Rights have worked with medical clinicians to document both the physical and psychological evidence of torture which allows judges and prosecutors to make decisions based on independently obtained medical evidence,” she concluded.

The report of the London-based international human rights organization Amnesty International, published Tuesday, launches a worldwide campaign to fulfill the promises countries gave 30 years ago to commit to “zero-tolerance of torture.”

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