Monday, 15 February 2010

On the effectiveness of torture

Is information extracted under torture reliable? The evidence seems to be contradictory. Prisoners under torture might give away any kind of unreliable information, just to provide some respite from the pain. The inadmissibility of information obtained under torture was upheld by a unanimous decision of the House of Lords.

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2009 affirmed that the use of torture or ‘enhanced interrogation’ is to be deplored under any circumstance. The awareness of the British Intelligence Services of some of the conditions under which the interrogation of Mr. Binyam Mohammed were taking place abroad, leads to an important question. Is it morally justifiable to be aware of the conditions under which certain information has been extracted and do nothing? Eliza Manningham-Buller former Director general of MI 5 stated when questioned by the House of Lords on the use of information acquired in other countries by torture stated 'We're not going to ask, because that would make things difficult.’ David Milliband stated that the UK “is firmly opposed to the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”. It seems clear that no UK officials were involved in torture, but does silence in the knowledge of the abusive and illegal conditions under which certain prisoners are interrogated not make us morally co-participants? Where does our moral integrity stand?

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