Saturday, May 12, 2007

"It was serious back then"

This story on forced confessions in Japan is rather disturbing. While not as severe, perhaps, as electric shock to the genitals (a common practice in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere during their respective dictatorships) or forcing prisoners' heads under water to extract confessions. Nonetheless, incidents like 17 straight days of 10-hour interrogation sessions and forcing the charged to stop on names of their family members (which, if it is indeed an odd twist on forcing Christians to stomp on the cross, is rather unique) clearly have caused mental and physical stress on innocent people in Japan. One hopes the change to a jury-based system in 2009 will fix things for the most part, but one has to wonder if these fforced (false) confessions are just going to go away that easily.