Friday, December 19, 2008

On Torture, and Confessions

The issue of torture and custodial interrogations have been discussed previously on this blog. In an article in today's Indian Express titled 'The Kasab Contradiction', Vinay Sitapati suggests that the Kasab saga exposes a key contradiction: while on the one hand, India is using Kasab's confessions to build international support against Pakistan, on the other hand, Kasab's confessions are inadmissible in Indian courts. Drawing on Arun Jaitley's suggestions on this issue, Mr. Sitapati suggests safeguards that serve as checks on torture so that confessions may be admissible in court. It will interesting to debate the extent to which Mr. Sitapati's suggestions blur the vital distinction between a magistrate and a police officer (the former interested in finding the truth, and the latter interested in a conviction). On my reading of the piece, it seems that Mr. Sitapati's suggestions do not take away the responsibility of the Magistrate, or ignore this distinction; if anything they maintain the role of Magistrate, and place additional responsibilities on the police.
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