Human rights and terrorism : guidelines for a "torture-free" interrogation for terrorists

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Shammaa, Diana
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The beginning of the 21st century symbolizes the dawn of a new war, namely the “War on Terrorism”. Since the term has a controversial connotation, it raises questions on human rights abuse, more precisely on how terrorists are being interrogated. Due to media influence, the public opinion is lenient to believe that terrorists might only share secret information through harsh interrogations demonstrated through torture. This study questions if there are no legal human dignified interrogation techniques that would make terrorists collaborate with authorities without reverting to torture? In this context, this paper seeks to answer affirmatively to this problematic. It intends to explain the reasons why the standard techniques presented in manuals on criminal interrogations fail to successfully educe information from religious terrorists. A detailed proposal will be presented that examines methods allowing interrogation techniques be adopted on religious terrorist within a human right framework. It will become clear throughout this article that technical, linguistic, cultural and interpersonal obstacles have to be overcome to successfully retrieve information. By understanding the psychology, mindset and profiles(s) of terrorists, recommendations can be established that would help to adapt interrogation techniques on them. This article tends to explain that by shaping interrogations to the profiles of religious terrorists, and thus creating an interpersonal, cultural and linguistic relationship with them through empathy, we might obtain the needed information without reverting to torture.
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles.
criminal psychology, human rights, terrorism, terrorist, torture