R e f l e c t i o n s

Amnesty International

There are few phenomenona like the one that is presented here in this exhibition which have changed so little essentially throughout the ages, while having undergone such diverse and variable historic concretions. From the rack to the Headcrusher, to electric shock, or to the administration of drugs affecting the psyche and body control, a long series of novelties appear (in this case it does not seem right to refer to advances or progress), but they all share an equal thread of ignominy, or public disgrace, in which the detention of an individual serves to exploit human suffering. Without further ado, what I really want to emphasize is that the sinister thread has not been broken, the practise of torture is far from extinct in our world.

The samples of techniques seen here could not complete the modernization of outrage. Various forms of torture do not reqire specific instruments, and some spine chilling formulate do not rely so much on the instruments used; thus, torture which is inflicted ori those people closest to the "prisoner" present at the scene of the torture, still more cruel, forcing these victims to partecipate in the torture of their nearest and dearest. Allow us to point out that this is happening in our world, in our times, in what we call the "global village".

Certainly Amnesty Intemational has never forgotten that the controversy surrounding the Death Penalty, or so called Capital Punishment, involves undeniable elements of inhumane and degrading treatment of the person condemned. There is no civilized way of dispending the death of a man, no humane way of eliminating a person, no respectful "guillotine" for humane dignity. Nelther are any of the so called more advanced systems in the supposedly most advanced country - I will not go into detail - but, over and above the macabre tragedy in the immediate application of death, there is no way of alleviating the agony of the last day, the certainty of the date with death, the "barbarie of waiting" - in the words of Giscard D'Estaing.

This exhibition, "INSTRUMENTS OF 'I'ORTURE", brings us up to the beginning of our century. The century which is now drawing to a close would provide ample material for a separate display. But if we do not provoke decided and tenacious indignation against this barbarism, the coming century will bring, without a doubt, its rich harvest of devices, monstrosities of torture and death.

Manuel Corroza Muro
President of Amnesty International's
Spanish Section

Agustin Serrano de Haro
President of Unity
Madrid

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