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An End To Torture: Strategies for its Eradication

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7194.1358a (Published 15 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1358
  1. Derek Summerfield, psychiatrist
  1. Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, London

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    Ed B Duner

    St Martin's Press, £15.95, pp 256

    ISBN 1 85649 622 8

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    Torture has a venerable history, documented back to the rule of Ramses II around 1200 BC. In the Middle Ages in Europe it was esteemed as the high road to confessed truth, and even salvation, yet by 1800 judicial codes were casting it as a thing of the past and the last resort of the barbarian. No such fastidiousness attends the present day, with torture used regularly in at least 90 countries. People think of torture as a kind of Gothic horror story, wherein unspeakable things are inflicted in secret dungeons to extract information. This happens, of course, but most …

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