ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unpacking Abu Ghraib: A Reading List on the Torture of Iraqi Civilians by the US Military

In 2004, images of the torture of Iraqi prisoners in the notorious prison of Abu Ghraib by American soldiers sent shockwaves through the world that such an exercise was carried out by the United States. A decade later, a detailed report on the exact techniques used to extract “intelligence” from Iraqi detainees was made public. Who is responsible for the torture? How did America get off the hook? And 17 years later, who remembers Abu Ghraib?

Police Atrocities and the Quest for Justice

In recent times, we have witnessed an exponential increase in incidence of police atrocities all over the country. Catapulted by the June 2020 case of brutal custodial torture and killings of Jayaraj and Bennix in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, this article examines the issue through human rights and legal perspectives. It discusses the gaps in the law and its implementation, and examines ways of addressing the same.

India's Silent Acceptance of Torture Has Made It a 'Public Secret'

The prevention of torture has been one of the key human rights developments in the last decade. With India’s strong stake for a seat at the security council, the issue has assumed importance. However, India’s commitment to preventing and abolishing torture as well as punishing its perpetrators is extremely weak.

Torture in Colonial India

The impact of colonialism also evidenced itself in the attempts to establish a codified system of criminal law that differentiated and separated itself from the 'native' law that preceded it. Despite such attempts, native practices had their own uses in enforcing discipline as seen in the incidents that unfold in the 'Nassick Torture Case' and elaborated further in this paper. The paper also probes issues related to fear and suffering while also enunciating the social scientists' dilemma of needing to represent and reproduce violence without fetishising or merely re-enacting it.

Torture in Custody

The endemic practice of torture in police custody - which is making India a pariah of sorts among civilised nations - can be held up as an example of our lasting adherence to tradition, both indigenous and colonial.
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