Most people have heard or have frequently used the idiom, “a ticking time bomb”, but how much do you understand about it? Here is a question for you;
Can you excuse the human torture under any guise? I’m sure the answer is No.
But, the police are holding a suspect who has the details of an imminent terrorist attack on your city, a market is about to be hit, your siblings and friends are in the market shopping, they could also be casualties, He is refusing to speak. Would you order his torture to save many innocent lives and even your family at that point? A TICKING TIME BOMB!
“The ticking time bomb scenario is a thought experiment that has been used in the ethics debate over whether torture can ever be justified.” Torture has been with man forever, but the reasons for torture have been different. Most times it is to extract information, other times it is used as a tool of punishment and or caveat to show the powers one commands. But, how far can you keep on with the inhuman acts until the suspect breaks?
Most times it has always been between Ethics and Law. Between getting results or respecting human rights and dignity.
Experts have argued that the situation needs not be ethical, as long as it produces the desired results. Richard Posher legal scholar and judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, wrote in The New Republic (Sept 2002), “If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used–and will be used–to obtain the information…. No one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility.” Others have argued that their families could be tortured if the ticking time bomb needs to be neutralized.
Bruce Anderson writing in a column for the Independent said; “…Let’s take your hypothesis a bit further. We have captured a terrorist, but he is a hardened character. We cannot be certain that he will crack in time. We have also captured his wife and children’. After much agonizing, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one answer to Sydney Kentridge’s question. Torture the wife and children.”
Some human rights organizations, professional and academic experts, and military and intelligence leaders have absolutely rejected the idea that torture is ever legal or acceptable, even in a so-called ticking bomb situation. Torture can be criticized as a poor vehicle for discovering truth, as people experiencing torture, once broken, are liable to make anything up in order to stop the pain and can become unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction under intense psychological pressure. Everyone have the maximum threshold for pains, and once the elastic limit is exceeded, anything goes.
It is important to note that as humans, we have at various points in time subjected people to physical or emotional torture or have been on the receiving end of it. From our history as a country, especially during the military regime, citizens at some points reportedly gave up the ghost under torture all under the guise of a ticking time bomb, are we better for it today?
WRITTEN BY: Agbutun Sammozbi Ayalo
I am interested in your opinion
My response/opinion on this article
I read your article it’s beautiful…on whether torture is legal the law in Nigeria is clear on it’s illegality as the right against Torture is absolute meaning no interruption or violation of such right can be justified as it is degrading and inhumane…but on whether it right is something your Article draw our attention to, because torture itself has not be proven to be an absolute means of getting right information or truth from the victim as you rightly said victim may say anything or admit anything which does not solve the issue at hand, When related to whether justice has been done on the scenario painted in the Article above, i cannot say there is a direct answer to this but it is evident that In trying to get justice for the other party, or the family… another injustice has been occasioned? in such circumstanceFaith Akatiki
Last last no matter how imperfect the law may be… although there are exceptions in regards to almost every law, it still proves the most preferable remedy.
Drop your opinion at the comment box below!!!