Sunday, 14 February 2010

Is it ever right to torture?

On this morning's Sunday programme there was an excellent moral discussion on the rights and wrongs of torture between Philippe Sands and Alan Derschowitz, both professors of law and practising civil rights lawyers.
Derschowitz argued in favour of legislating for torture in democracies as a necessary evil and doing this openly, claiming that the choice between harm to an individual and possible prevention of mass loss of human life from information gathered justifies the use of torture in the age of terrorism.
Sands clearly affirmed that use of torture by democracies just helps terrorists recruit and that it is wrong and counter productive. It is also not proven at all that torture produces reliable or useful information.
You can listen to the Sunday Programme again for the next seven days, the discussion runs from minute 24 for six minutes. It's good radio and thought-provoking stuff.
You can guess from my choice of book to picture here that I took Sands' side - finding his arguments both more convincing and more in line with my own convictions. Find out more about Torture Team here. You can raed some of his commentary of the recent UK Iraq enquiry here.
You can find link to Derschowitz's prolific output here.