Are tasers torture?

November 27th, 2007 at 9:44 am by David Farrar

The UN Committee against torture has come out and said tasers are a form of torture.  Well yes they are if they are being used to punish someone.  But that doesn’t answer the question about whether they are a better option for armed offenders than merely shooting them through the heart.

I was interested to see who was on the UN Committee against Torture and after 20 minutes on the God awful UN site I found it.  10 experts – all I am sure fine upstanding people.  The countries they come from though are mixed.  five of them have good human rights ratings (from Freedom House) – Norway, Chile, Spain, Cyprus and the USA.  However we also have the reasonably repressive Senegal and Ecuador, the very repressive Morocco and Russia and the totally repressive China.  So the moral high ground is rather low.

Having said all that, I do repeat that I have some concerns with their use here.  Some Police have misused pepper spray and if they misuse a taser, the consequences can be fatal.  A taser should only be used when pepper spray would not be a safe option for the officer, and no action is not acceptable. They should be a substitute for pistols, not pepper spray.

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