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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Torture. Des démocraties pas si vertueuses

by Damien Roustel

Torture – Not-So-Virtuous Democracies

Translated Friday 14 February 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

Canada, Switzerland and Japan are criticized in the latest annual report on countries that resort to torture, issued by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT).

These are apparently respectable democratic countries, except that they figure in the latest annual report on countries that resort to torture, which was issued by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT). This year, Canada, Japan and Switzerland find themselves listed with Syria, the Sudan and Myanmar (Burma). Even though one cannot put what is happening in those three countries on the same footing with what is going on in Syria or Russia, the fact remains that these countries are far from exemplary,” Jean-Etienne de Linares, the general delegate for ACAT, stated.

Since 2011, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has made public security and the fight against terrorism centerpieces of his term in office. Anti-terrorist laws were tightened following the Boston bombing on April 15, 2013. “Notably, the security services can use information obtained through torture and can transmit information to countries that practice torture,” the report indicates.

ACAT deplores the impunity enjoyed by policemen guilty of abusing native women, notably in northern British Columbia. “In July 2012, a native woman was taken out of the city by police officers, raped and threatened with death should she reveal these acts of violence,” ACAT revealed.

In Japan, the conditions in temporary detention centers and on death row are criticized. In the former, there are many prolonged interrogations, threats, and humiliations. In the latter, condemned men and women “must remain seated continually, are forced to remain silent and to look straight ahead.”

Switzerland, for its part, is accused of resorting to “disproportionate use of force” in the forced deportation of foreigners to their country of origin. Three people died between 1999 and 2010.

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