Podcast: ”Why Do States Commit Torture?” by Ahlam Chemlali


A lecture by Ahlam Chemlali, Project Manager at DIGNITY

Imagine that you have been forced into a room. The room is filled with a constant explosion of sounds, blinking lights and distorted visual effects. You are locked in, and exposed to this cacophony of sounds and light until you are on the verge of breaking.

This was how Ahlam Chemlali, Project Manager at DIGNITY, described a new torture technique known as a ‘fun house’. This technique does not leave a physical mark on the body, but has psychological implications, and it is a technique that lets democratic countries, such as the UK, outsource torture to non-democratic countries, such as Saudi Arabia. And with that description she kicked off the third seminar in Think Rights’ seminar series Atrocities and the Development of Human Rights.

In her lecture, Chemlali discussed how states legitimize torture by making it a matter of protecting states from terrorism and protecting civilians by getting information out of suspects. However, she asserted that this, by no means, is based on facts or scientific research. It is solely based on fear. This is also the case when Ted Cruz says that waterboarding isn’t torture but ‘just’ enhanced interrogation, or when Donald Trump says that he’ll “bring a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”. To this Chemlali added: “Waterboarding is torture, there are no grey areas”.

Listen to the presentation here:

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