Vienna: Torture could easily be eradicated
if states would only make a small effort, the UN`s special
rapporteur on torture said on Saturday, deploring that innocent
people were often the main victims.
"The majority of people who undergo torture are not
political dissidents but just normal, often poor, people who
fall under suspicion for some kind of offence and are then
beaten until they confess," Manfred Nowak told Austrian
"Then they disappear into a prison somewhere for ages,"
he said on the occasion of the international day in support of
victims of torture.
"If we made just a couple of important changes, then each
well-intentioned country could eradicate torture," Nowak
Anyone placed under arrest should be immediately
registered and allowed to contact relatives and a lawyer,
after which this person should come quickly before a court, he
If a judge rules there is sufficient evidence against the
suspect, "they should be put in custody but kept away from the
police: torture happens under police custody," he insisted.
Torture was especially widespread in countries with
inefficient, or corrupt judicial systems "where there is
strong pressure on the police to get confessions out (of
suspects)," Nowak noted.
But many signatories of the UN`s Convention against
Torture have not entirely fulfilled their obligations under
the treaty either, including countries like Austria, which are
generally deemed to respect human rights, Nowak pointed out,
urging further efforts to stamp out the use of cruel