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March 2007

Science and Torture

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64(3):275-276. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.3.275

Torture is illegal and practiced by more than half of the nations of the world. The United Nations Convention Against Torture defines it as any “act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person . . . when such pain or suffering is inflicted by, or at the instigation of, or with the consent or acquiescence of, a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”1 Despite this clarity, torturing nations often contrive laws or rationalizations that attempt to excuse the abuse of disarmed captives as warfare or as merely vigorous interrogation, so-called torture lite.

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