9 Brutal Torture Techniques That Were Practiced Until Recently

The UN Convention Against Torture has defined torture as: “…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed… [ continued].

Torture is illegal in most countries, as dictated by Geneva Conventions. However, there are sickening forms of torture that are practiced even today or were practiced only a few years ago. And they are listed here below:


1. Sensory Deprivation

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Certainly the worst form of torture, depriving one of his/her senses is the most agonizing torture technique. The torturer not only handcuffs the victim, but also blindfolds, plugs his ears and nose to deprive him of 3 out of 5 senses: Seeing, Hearing, Smelling. This has proved to work instantaneously as the poor victim is unable to withstand the loss of his senses.

This technique is used, in one way or the other, in all other techniques.


2. Strappado / Palestinian Hanging

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The ‘Palestinian Hanging’ is a vile form of torture in which the victim’s hands are tied behind his back, a tight rope is then passed over a pully and attached to victim’s hands such that the victim hangs over the ground. To further intensify the victim’s suffering, weights are attached.


3. Sleep Deprivation

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Another type of torture is sleep deprivation, in which the victim is often made to stand vertically and then whenever he tries to sleep, he is physically harassed, subjected to loud/jarring sounds and bright lights. Sleep is something one has to get in order to remain peaceful and calm. However, when he is not allowed to do so, he will obviously go crazy. This technique is repeated over and over again until the desired results are obtained.

ex-Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin described his experience with sleep deprivation as follows:

In the head of the interrogated prisoner, a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep… Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger and thirst are comparable with it.


4. Subjection to Extreme Heat/Cold

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Extreme heat or cold is very unpleasant. When this is done on a victim when he is already tensed and stressed, it becomes a simple way of torturing. Victim is stripped then put inside a cell (or outdoors, depending on climate) and then made to face extreme heat (up to 50 degrees Celsius) or extreme cold (under 0 degrees Celsius). This technique is in use today.


5. Sexual Harassment (Rape/Sodomy)

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Having sexual intercourse or oral/anal sex with someone against someone’s will is called sexual assault. Rape and Sodomy are two different things, but they are generally used to imply the same thing.

In this form of torture, the tormented victim is raped. It really does not matter if the victim is male or female (as proved with Abu Ghuraib). Raping leaves the victim psychologically and physically damaged and anguished.


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