Horrors: Law Student/Child Murderer "Tortured"
From James Taranto's Best of the Web (Just scroll down.)
Europe OK's 'Torture'
Writing in Policy Review, John Rosenthal tells a tale of police abuse from 21st-century Germany:
In the Frankfurt police headquarters, the atmosphere is tense. Deputy Police Chief Wolfgang Daschner is losing patience. On the previous day, his officers arrested one Magnus Gäfgen, a 27-year-old law student. Gäfgen is suspected of having kidnapped 11-year-old Jakob von Metzler, son of the banker Friedrich von Metzler. Two days earlier, Gäfgen had personally collected a 1-million-euro ransom payment. But there is no sign of the boy and Gäfgen has refused to give police interrogators accurate information about his whereabouts. A police psychologist, observing the questioning, describes Gäfgen's responses as a "pack of lies" [Lügengebäude]. Deputy Police Chief Daschner fears that Jakob's life may be in danger. In a memorandum, he writes: "We need to ascertain without delay where the boy is being held. While respecting the principle of proportionality, the police have an obligation to take all measures in their power to save the child's life."
Daschner decides to act. He dispatches police inspector Ortwin Ennigkeit to the office in which Gäfgen is being held for interrogation. Ennigkeit's assignment: to make Gäfgen talk--if necessary by threat of torture. Indeed, Daschner has resolved not only to threaten Gäfgen with pain, but to carry out the threat if his prisoner is not otherwise forthcoming. A doctor has been found to supervise the proceedings.
In the interrogation room, Ennigkeit tells Gäfgen that a "special officer" is on his way. If Gäfgen does not tell Ennigkeit where the boy is, the "special officer" will "make him feel pain that he will not forget." On Gäfgen's own account, the formula is still more menacing: the officer "will make you feel pain like you have never felt before." "Nobody can help you here," Ennigkeit tells him, according to Gäfgen's testimony. "We can do whatever we want with you." On Gäfgen's account, moreover, Ennigkeit already begins to rough him up: shaking him so violently that his head bangs against the wall and hitting him in the chest hard enough to leave a bruise over his collarbone. Gäfgen's testimony is consistent with the tenor of Daschner's instructions, which, on Daschner's own admission, called for the "use of direct force" [Anwendung unmittelbaren Zwangs].
Gäfgen broke and told police where he had buried Jakob's body. That was October 2002:
In June 2005, the child-murderer and law student Magnus Gäfgen lodged a complaint against Germany with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In his complaint, Gäfgen accused Germany of having violated his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and, more specifically, of having violated the prohibition on torture contained in Article 3 of the Convention.
On June 30, 2008, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Gäfgen's complaint and cleared Germany of the charge of tolerating torture.
Also in October 2002, interrogators at Guantanamo Bay asked for permission to use similar methods on al Qaeda terrorist Mohammed al-Qahtani. The Pentagon said no.
Taranto writes: Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, perhaps it is time for American interrogators to revise their practices to bring them into line with European ones.