Torture Essay Research Paper We went to

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Torture Essay, Research Paper ??We went to the torture room in a kind of solemn precession, the guards walking ahead with lighted candles. The chamber was underground and dark, particularly near the entrance. It was a vast shadowy place and every device and instrument of human torture was there. They pointed out some of them to me and said I should have to taste them. Then they asked me again if I would confess. ?I cannot.?, I said.?? (Abbott, 1) Those words were spoken by John Gerard, a Jesuit priest accused of spreading Catholicism in England. And in 1597 he was captured, taken to the Tower of London and ?put to the question.? Whatever the country, whatever the crime, one could see the authorities? dilemma, when suspicion, strong and sometimes reinforced by evidence, would

point to an individual, who usually vehemently denied all accusations. Yet the truth had to be determined. While in an age where social conditions were brutally harsh, where epidemics of fatal diseases decimated the population and violence was almost a way of life, what more natural than to attempt to extract a confession by using force. Torture which is understood to be the torment and suffering of the body in order to elicit the truth. It?s concept is based on two fundamental facts, first, that we all have imaginations. (Abbott, 1-4) Torture is a vile and depraved invasion of the rights and dignity of an individual. It is a crime against humanity, for which there can be no possible justification.(Innes, 7) Torture was used as early as the 11th century, as evidence shows that

William the Conqueror ordered the maiming of criminals, while Henry I ordained that those guilty of counterfeiting the nations currency, would be punished by having their right hand severed and then afterwards castrated. The human anatomy seems to have been expressly designed to be pierced. The human body?s soft, yielding flesh, with vulnerable parts such as fingers and toes, ears and nose?s, sticking out, positively invited the attention of a torturer?s keen blade and sharpened spike. (Abbott, 67) Since the primary principle of torture is to inflict pain or, at the very least, to threaten pain, therefore exploiting the fear of it. Probably the most infamous instrument of torture in Medieval England was the rack. (The Tower…..,2) It is believed that the rack was introduced into

England around 1420 by the Duke of Exeter, who was constable of the Tower of London at the time. (Innes, 87-88) Although many variations of the rack have been used throughout the centuries, the basic principle has always been the same. The victims? hands are secured by ropes to a beam at one end, and their bodies gradually stretched by ropes attached to their feet. At first, they resist the stretching, not only with the muscles of their arms, and legs but also with their abdominal muscles. Then suddenly, the muscles of their limbs give way, first in the arms and subsequently in the legs: the ligaments, and then the fibres of the muscles themselves, are torn. Further stretching ruptures the muscles of the abdomen, and finally torn from their sockets. (Innes, 123) If they did not

die of their injuries, they were often so injured that they could not take part in their public confessions. (Tower of….., 2) Persuasion by means of pressing usually ended in death, hardly desirable in court cases where confessions and names of accomplices were required. However in the 16th and 17th centuries, a device was used which, while not endangering life in any way, positively encouraged the victim to reveal everything he knew, whether true or imagined. The instrument was known as the Boot. As it?s name implies, the boot was designed to torture a prisoners legs and feet, and the device was so effective that even the early stages of it?s application caused injuries so harsh that a hasty confession was usually the result. the most common form of the boot required the