How Torture Fails: Evidence of Misinformation from Torture-Induced Confessions in Iraq
Journal of Global Security Studies
This article examines the testimony of fifty-seven torture victims in Saddam Hussein's Iraq to illustrate the processes by which torture fails to gain true confessions or accurate information. Theoretical analyses have identified several ways in which torture is likely to fail, but this is the first study to examine empirically how this occurs. In the study sample, victims stated that torture frequently led to inaccurate results, with respondents who were guilty of anti-regime activity refusing to confess or give information, innocent victims giving false information and confessions, and guilty victims giving accurate information followed by inaccurate information when the torture continued. The majority of victims stated that they resisted torture and did not confess or give any information. They did so because they knew that the regime relied on confessions to get criminal convictions and because they knew that confessing or providing information would only lead to more torture.
human rights, interrogation, torture
Einolf, Christopher J., "How Torture Fails: Evidence of Misinformation from Torture-Induced Confessions in Iraq" (2022). NIU Bibliography. 36.
Department of Sociology