A Stalinist Torture Tactic
Tuesday, June 15, 2004; Page A22
Poll results show that most Americans oppose using torture, with a notable exception to that being sleep deprivation ["Americans Split on How to Interrogate," news story, May 28], which most people consider a relatively benign method of interrogation.
However, sleep deprivation was one of the main methods of torture used by the Soviet secret police. My study of the behavior of almost 200 prisoners arrested on fabricated political charges in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union shows that only one in 10 confessed voluntarily, while most confessed as a result of torture that included sleep deprivation. This result does not prove the effectiveness of torture, because the prisoners confessed to crimes they never committed.
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