Friday, December 17, 2010

Cablegate: India a torture state

Today's big Wikileaks story: India is engaged in systematic torture in Kashmir. A cable - 05NEWDELHI2606 - reports on a conversation between a US diplomat and a representative of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), which monitors prisoners. The horrifying statistics:

ICRC staff made 177 visits to detention centers in [Jammu and Kashmir] and elsewhere (primarily the Northeast) between 2002-2004, meeting with 1491 detainees, 1296 of which were private interviews. XXXXXXXXXXXX considered this group a representative sample of detainees in Kashmir, but stressed that they had not been allowed access to all detainees. In 852 cases, detainees reported what ICRC refers to as "IT" (ill-treatment): 171 persons were beaten, the remaining 681 subjected to one or more of six forms of torture: electricity (498 cases), suspension from ceiling (381), "roller" (a round metal object put on the thighs of sitting person, which prison personnel then sit on, crushing muscles -- 294); stretching (legs split 180 degrees -- 181), water (various forms -- 234), or sexual (302). Numbers add up to more than 681, as many detainees were subjected to more than one form of IT. ICRC stressed that all the branches of the security forces used these forms of IT and torture.
And we're negotiating a free trade deal with them. Clearly, our government doesn't regard the systematic use of torture as any sort of barrier to good diplomatic relations or free trade. Makes you proud to be a kiwi, doesn't it?