Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured onto a cloth that covers the face and airways of a restrained individual, causing the feeling of drowning.
Torture is a method of physical or psychological coercion, sometimes inflicted for the purpose of punishing or extorting information or confessions or in some cases out of sheer amusement and sadism.
Often, if not always, torture is accompanied by the use of special instruments to inflict corporal punishment.
In preclassical criminal law, it was considered more of a means of obtaining evidence than corporal punishment.
Simulated drowning (in English waterboarding), is a form of torture consisting in immobilizing an individual so that the feet are higher than the head, and pouring water on his face so that, entering from the respiratory orifices, stimulates the pharyngeal reflex that causes the drowning effect.
This technique is used to simulate the experience of drowning and can be extremely distressing and traumatic.
Waterboarding is widely considered a form of torture and is illegal under international law.
The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which many countries are signatories, explicitly prohibits the use of torture.
Waterboarding has been used by some governments and military forces as a means of extracting information from prisoners or suspects.
However, its use has been widely condemned by human rights organizations, medical professionals, and many governments and political leaders.
The practice is considered both ineffective and immoral.
The use of waterboarding as a form of interrogation has been controversial, with some arguing that it is a necessary technique to extract information from high-value targets, while others argue that it is morally and legally unjustifiable.
Effects of waterboarding
The physical effects of a rough water torture may include:
- suffering and lung damage,
- neurological damage caused by lack of oxygen and
- In some cases, fractures caused by the straps used to immobilize the victim.
The psychological effects can last a long time, for years.
Prolonged use of water torture can lead to death.
Dr. Allen Keller, director of the Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, treated a “number of people” who were subjected to forms of near-asphyxiation, including water torture.
In an interview for The New Yorker he said that “it is definitely torture”:
- Some victims are still traumatized years later.
- One patient was unable to shower and had panic attacks when it rained.
- The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience.
Supporters and opponents of waterboarding
Proponents of this technique claim that it is effective for obtaining information.
Opponents counter by saying that the information thus obtained is not reliable, as a person subjected to such treatment could be willing to admit anything.
The effectiveness of waterboarding
Critics of waterboarding argue that it is not an effective means of obtaining reliable information, as those subjected to it can provide false information simply to stop torture.
They also stress that the use of such methods can damage the reputation of the questioning agency and potentially lead to the mistreatment of innocent individuals.
Proponents of waterboarding argue that it can be an effective technique in certain circumstances, and that banning such methods may limit the ability of intelligence agencies to gather information critical to national security.
However, the use of such techniques remains highly controversial, and many governments and international organizations have condemned the practice.
In conclusion, waterboarding is a controversial and highly contested practice that is widely considered a form of torture.
Its use has been condemned by many governments, international organizations and human rights groups, who argue that it is ineffective and morally and legally unjustifiable.
It really is a terrible form of torture and like any form of torture it is the darkest sides of man and human nature.
«“Torture” is nothing inhuman, it is only a despicable and filthy crime, committed by men against other men, and which still other men can and must repress. The inhuman does not exist, except in nightmares generated by fear. The calm courage of a victim, his modesty, his lucidity, is enough to free us from mystification..» (Jean-Paul Sartre, Preface to The Torture of Henri Alleg)
Despite everything, in many countries of the world torture is still used both as a solution to punish criminals and as a means to extract information, as denounced by various associations that deal with the defense of human rights, including Amnesty International.
- in the literal sense, the twisting of the limbs, with reference to the barbaric bodily torment that was inflicted in the Middle Ages (and up to the contemporary age) on the accused, so that he confessed the crime and / or revealed the name of the accomplices, and also, but less frequently, to the witnesses to make them speak;
- suffering of any kind and violence, physical or psychological or pharmacological andinflicted on spies or prisoners to obtain information of judicial or military interest;
- by extension, any form of physical or moral compulsion against someone in order to extort something from him or out of sheer cruelty.
Torture has always been used in prison secrecy primarily to obtain information or confession, considered the queen proof of guilt.
Once the confession was obtained (almost always) and the sentence imposed, the condemned was taken to the public square (usually at dawn on the day following the sentence), where various tortures were inflicted in public, until after a more or less long time death occurred.
It has always been used in history with great frequency and is still a practice used all over the world.
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