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The Pros and Cons of Torture

Updated on February 26, 2016


The famed series of 24, the American TV show hit screens with a message that torture is positive and it works. The show is actually trying to create public acceptance for a completely inhuman and illegal method of interrogation, and it also inspired abuse on detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. In fact, the series depicts torture as a laudable act which helped to gather critical information in minutes and saved many lives. But the stories depicted in the TV series are fictitious stories and in the real world things are completely different. It is shocking a fictitious TV show inspired the interrogators to torture detainees. The show in fact made it difficult for the people who interrogated criminals to stop abusing them. The series spread a wrong message that torture helps in tracking criminals and it promoted the methods of torturing and abusing detainees. These kinds of shows encourage extreme torture, which is not only terrifying but illegal and immoral.

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The Advantages of Torture

The Advantages of Torture

Torture is act of intentionally causing pain physically or mentally to a person to get some information from the person or from a third person, but torture is not a legal act. Torturing a criminal can be justified in cases where it is assured the criminal is behind the crime and can provide information to prevent a future incident (Ingelse, 2001). It is believed torture or some amount of extra punishment actually helps to give some sort of information and also.

Torture Creates Negative Sentiments in People

Torture can in fact make the person in custody to create fake information. If the person who is tortured is not a criminal, people will sympathize for him or her. Even the people who are not tortured, may develop negative sentiments against the local government if an innocent suffers due to torture, and the methodologies can be very dangerous as it will create a tool for people who want to harm the country (Centre for Human Rights, 2000).

The "24" Effect - How Liberal Hollywood Promotes Torture

Torture is Completely Against Ethics

What is the morality behind torture? If the people who are responsible for security of other people, torture a common helpless man, what remains the difference between a criminal and interrogator?

Torture is Illegal

Torture may or may not help to save hundreds of people, but torturing means breaking laws (Shelton, 1999). It is believed information can be gained in timely manner by using the techniques of torture but torture lowers the moral ground to the level of a criminal and it is not the way to get information (Centre for Human Rights, 2000).

Torture in the Real World

Torture, in TV series, is related with fictional characters but in real world, there are many stories of people being tortured and released without any charges after a few years. In reality, there are rare cases, where the person who is tortured provided reliable information (Shelton, 1999). Experienced interrogators have claimed the information provided through torture in reality is generally unreliable. In certain cases, the person who is tortured may admit all sorts of stuff which are not true.


It can be concluded torture is not a legitimate way of interrogating criminals and it may not provide the interrogators any information through this method. Torture may only cause serious harm to the person who is interrogated and it is also against humanity, hence it should not be used in the fight for national security (Ingelse, 2001). Nobody in the world should be legally allowed to torture anybody. Instead, using torture for interrogation can create negative image of the security agencies and encourage antagonism among social and cultural groups.


Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, African Human Rights Law Reports, (2000),

Ingelse, C. (2001) The UN Committee against Torture: An Assessment, The Hague/London/Boston: Kluwer Law International

Shelton, D. (1999) Remedies in International Human Rights Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press


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