Forced confession

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A forced confession is a confession obtained by a suspect or a prisoner under means of torture (including enhanced interrogation techniques) or other forms of duress. Depending on the level of coercion used, a forced confession is not valid in revealing the truth. The person being interrogated may agree to the story presented to him or even make up falsehoods himself in order to satisfy the interrogator and discontinue his suffering. [1]

Prison place in which people legally are physically confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms

A prison, also known as a correctional facility, jail, gaol, penitentiary, detention center, remand center, or internment facility is a facility in which inmates are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state. Prisons are most commonly used within a criminal justice system: people charged with crimes may be imprisoned until their trial; those pleading or being found guilty of crimes at trial may be sentenced to a specified period of imprisonment. In simplest terms, a prison can also be described as a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed.

Torture intentional infliction of physical or mental suffering upon a person or an animal, in order to punish or to coerce, or for sheer cruelty

Torture is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffering on someone by another as a punishment or in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or force some action from the victim. Torture, by definition, is a knowing and intentional act; deeds which unknowingly or negligently inflict suffering or pain, without a specific intent to do so, are not typically considered torture.

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For centuries the Latin phrase "Confessio est regina probationum" (In English: Confession is the Queen of evidence) justified the use of forced confession in the European legal system. When especially during the Middle Ages acquiring a confession was the most important thing during preparations before a trial, than the method used to get the confession seemed irrelevant, de facto sanctioning the use of torture to extract forced confession. [ citation needed ]

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th through the 15th centuries

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

In law and government, de facto describes practices that exist in reality, even if not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law. Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de facto standards.

By the late 18th century, most scholars and lawyers thought of the forced confession not only as a relic of past times and morally wrong but also ineffective as the victim of torture may confess to anything just to ease their suffering.

Developments in the 20th century, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, greatly reduced the legal acceptance of forced confessions. However, for most of legal history they have been accepted in most of the world, and are still accepted in some jurisdictions.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaration adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session on 10 December 1948 as Resolution 217 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

Modern day usage

Since 2001, as part of its War on Terror the United States using the CIA operates a network of off shore prisons, called black sites, probably the most famous of which is Guantánamo Bay detention camp. State officials have admitted to the press and in court to be using various torture techniques (authorised by the District attorney) to interrogate suspects of terrorism, sometimes after forced disappearance or extraordinary rendition by the United States.

War on Terror International military campaign that started after 11 September 2001

The War on Terror, also known as the Global War on Terrorism, is an international military campaign that was launched by the United States government after the September 11 attacks against the United States. The naming of the campaign uses a metaphor of war to refer to a variety of actions that do not constitute a specific war as traditionally defined. U.S. president George W. Bush first used the term "war on terrorism" on 16 September 2001, and then "war on terror" a few days later in a formal speech to Congress. In the latter speech, George Bush stated, "Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them." The term was originally used with a particular focus on countries associated with al-Qaeda. The term was immediately criticised by such people as Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and more nuanced terms subsequently came to be used by the Bush administration to publicly define the international campaign led by the U.S.; it was never used as a formal designation of U.S. operations in internal government documentation.

Black site location at which an unacknowledged black project is conducted

In military terminology, a black site is a location at which an unacknowledged black operation or black project is conducted. It can refer to the facilities that are controlled by the CIA and used by the U.S. government in its War on Terror to detain alleged unlawful enemy combatants.

Forced disappearance when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization

In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the person's fate and whereabouts, with the intent of placing the victim outside the protection of the law.

When these systematic acts were made public by the international media, the European Union, United Nations, the international press and various human rights movements condemned their practice. The US Supreme Court did not discontinue their usage and repeatedly ruled against hearing citizens that underwent forced confessions, even after they were found innocent, claiming that a trial would constitute a breach of national security. [2]

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

A famous case is that of Khalid El-Masri. He appealed several times aided by different international human rights movements and lawyers, yet the US Supreme Court retained its usage of forced confession techniques, and denied a hearing of the evidence.

Khaled El-Masri is a German and Lebanese citizen who was mistakenly abducted by the Macedonian police in 2003, and handed over to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While in CIA custody, he was flown to Afghanistan, where he was held at a black site and routinely interrogated, beaten, strip-searched, sodomized, and subjected to other cruel forms of inhumane and degrading treatment and torture. After El-Masri held hunger strikes, and was detained for four months in the "Salt Pit", the CIA finally admitted his arrest and torture were a mistake and released him. He is believed to be among an estimated 3,000 detainees whom the CIA abducted from 2001–2005.

Forced televised confessions in China

The People's Republic of China systematically employed forced televised confession against Chinese dissidents and workers of various human rights group in an attempt to discredit, smear and suppress dissident voices and activism, as well as part of the state propaganda. These scripted confessions, obtained via systematic duress and torture, are broadcasted on the state television. Notable victims includes Wang Yu, a female human rights lawyer, and Swedish citizen Peter Dahlin, an NGO worker and human rights activist. [3] [4] [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Interrogation interviewing employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, and intelligence agencies with the goal of eliciting useful information

Interrogation is interviewing as commonly employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, and intelligence agencies with the goal of eliciting useful information. Interrogation may involve a diverse array of techniques, ranging from developing a rapport with the subject to outright torture.

The right to silence is a legal principle which guarantees any individual the right to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement officers or court officials. It is a legal right recognized, explicitly or by convention, in many of the world's legal systems.

Strappado

The strappado, also known as corda, is a form of torture wherein the victim's hands are tied behind his or her back and suspended by a rope attached to the wrists, typically resulting in dislocated shoulders. Weights may be added to the body to intensify the effect and increase the pain. This kind of torture would generally not last more than an hour, without rest, as it would likely result in death.

Waterboarding Drowning simulating torture method

Waterboarding is a form of water torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the person to experience the sensation of drowning. Normally, water is poured intermittently to prevent death. However, if the water is poured uninterruptedly it will lead to death by asphyxia, also called dry drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, and lasting psychological damage. Adverse physical effects can last for months, and psychological effects for years.

Mohammed al-Qahtani Saudi Arabian Guantanamo detainee

Mohammed Mana Ahmed al-Qahtani is a Saudi citizen who has been detained as an al-Qaeda Agent since June 2002 in the United States's Guantanamo Bay detention camps in Cuba. Qahtani allegedly tried to enter the United States to take part in the September 11 attacks as the 20th hijacker and was due to be onboard Flight 93 along with the four other hijackers. He was refused entry due to suspicions that he was trying to immigrate. He was later captured in Afghanistan in the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001.

Stress and duress is a term which has been used by the United States to describe interrogation techniques authorized for use by the United States Armed Forces upon detainees who are determined to be a threat to the United States during the War on Terrorism. These techniques are claimed to cause "inhuman and degrading treatment" but which the George W. Bush administration claims do not cause "suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture".

Torture, the infliction of severe physical or psychological pain upon an individual to extract information or a confession, or as an illicit extrajudicial punishment, is prohibited by international law and is illegal in most countries. However, it is still used by many governments. The subject of this article is the use of torture since the adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which prohibited it.

Self-incrimination is the act of exposing oneself generally, by making a statement, "to an accusation or charge of crime; to involve oneself or another [person] in a criminal prosecution or the danger thereof". Self-incrimination can occur either directly or indirectly: directly, by means of interrogation where information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed; or indirectly, when information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed voluntarily without pressure from another person.

Ethical arguments have arisen regarding torture, and its debated value to society. Despite worldwide condemnation and the existence of treaty provisions that forbid it, some countries still use it. The ethical assertion that torture is a tool is at question.

The five techniques are illegal interrogation methods which were originally developed by the British military in other operational theatres and then applied to detainees during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. They have been defined as prolonged wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink.

Extrajudicial prisoners of the United States, in the context of the early twenty-first century War on Terrorism, refers to foreign nationals the United States detains outside of the legal process required within United States legal jurisdiction. In this context, the U.S. government is maintaining torture centers, called black sites, operated by both known and secret intelligence agencies. Such black sites were later confirmed by reports from journalists, investigations, and from men who had been imprisoned and tortured there, and later released after being tortured until the CIA was comfortable they had done nothing wrong, and had nothing to hide.

A false confession is an admission of guilt for a crime for which the confessor is not responsible. False confessions can be induced through coercion or by the mental disorder or incompetency of the accused. Research demonstrates that false confessions occur on a regular basis in case law, which is one reason why jurisprudence has established a series of rules—called "confession rules"—to detect, and subsequently reject, false confessions. Plea agreements typically require the defendant to stipulate to a set of facts establishing that he/she is guilty of the offense; in the United States federal system, before entering judgment on a guilty plea, the court must determine that there is a factual basis for the plea.

Torture and the United States includes documented and alleged cases of torture both inside and outside the United States by members of the government, the military, law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, health care services, and other public organizations.

"Enhanced interrogation techniques" or "enhanced interrogation" is a euphemism for the U.S. government's program of systematic torture of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and various components of the U.S. Armed Forces at black sites around the world, including Bagram, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, authorized by officials of the George W. Bush administration. Methods used included beating, binding in contorted stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep disruption, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, deprivation of food, drink, and withholding medical care for wounds, as well as waterboarding, walling, sexual humiliation, subjection to extreme heat or extreme cold, and confinement in small coffin-like boxes. Several detainees endured medically unnecessary "rectal rehydration", "rectal fluid resuscitation", and "rectal feeding". In addition to brutalizing detainees, there were threats to their families such as threats to harm children, and threats to sexually abuse or to cut the throat of detainees' mothers.

Steven Kleinman United States Air Force officer

Steven Kleinman is a career military intelligence officer and a recognized expert in the fields of human intelligence, strategic interrogation, special operations, and special survival training.

Landau Commission

The Landau Commission was a three-man Commission set up by the Israeli Government in 1987 following a long-running scandal over the deaths of two Palestinian prisoners in custody and the wrongful conviction of a Circassian IDF officer. The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Moshe Landau, found that the GSS interrogators routinely used physical force during the interrogation of prisoners and then committed perjury at subsequent trials. In its conclusion, approved by Cabinet in November 1987, it lay down guidelines for the use of a "moderate measure of physical pressure". The details of the recommended methods were described in the classified appendix to the report. In 1994 the UN Committee Against Torture stated: "The Landau Commission Report, permitting as it does 'moderate physical pressure' as a lawful mode of interrogation, is completely unacceptable to this Committee."

Torture Memos

A set of legal memoranda known as the "Torture Memos" were drafted by John Yoo as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States and signed in August 2002 by Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, head of the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice. They advised the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Department of Defense, and the President on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques: mental and physical torment and coercion such as prolonged sleep deprivation, binding in stress positions, and waterboarding, and stated that such acts, widely regarded as torture, might be legally permissible under an expansive interpretation of presidential authority during the "War on Terror".

Shuanggui is an internal disciplinary process conducted by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China – and its lower-level affiliates – on members of the Party who are suspected of "violations of discipline," a charge which usually refers to corruption but can occasionally carry other connotations as well. The Shuanggui process is conducted in secret, in a system which is separate from ordinary Chinese law enforcement processes. Generally subjects are isolated from any form of legal counsel or even family visits during the process.

The Hooded Men are 14 men who were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in Northern Ireland by the British army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1971. The mistreatment took place as part of Operation Demetrius and included the illegal interrogation methods known as the five techniques.

References

  1. Boffa, Christa (8 July 2016). "Palazz Castellania". Illum (in Maltese). Archived from the original on 30 July 2016.
  2. .
  3. Wong, Edward. "China Uses Foreigners' Televised Confessions to Serve Its Own Ends" . Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  4. "瑞典人彼得·達林:我在中國上電視認罪,《1984》噩夢成為現實". theinitium.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. Myers, Steven Lee. "How China Uses Forced Confessions as Propaganda Tool" . Retrieved 2018-10-01.