What’s going on?

Torture is the deliberate infliction of severe physical or mental pain and suffering on a person. It is often carried out in order to extract information or a confession, or to punish or intimidate.


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US authorities are known to have used torture as part of post-9/11 counter-terrorism efforts under President George W. Bush, which included ‘enforced disappearances’ and CIA-operated ‘black sites’, or secret prisons. Torture is also regularly reported in countries such as Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Libya and Ethiopia.

Common torture methods used by police and security forces include severe beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, burns, mock executions, sensory deprivation, isolation, use of stress positions, sexual abuse and the threat of sexual assault.

The landmark Torture Report, published by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2014, highlighted many potential legal violations in the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program. The use of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques was banned by President Obama in 2009. So far, no one has been held to account for these abuses.


What we do

  • Reprieve US investigates and challenges the use of torture around the world. We work on cases of torture in police custody, and abuses committed in the name of the ‘war on terror’.
  • Through evidence-gathering and strategic casework, we work to hold governments and corporations to account for their collusion in rendition, unlawful detention and torture.
  • We were part of a coalition of organizations that campaigned for the release of the uncensored version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on CIA Torture.    
  • Reprieve US assists prisoners who have been tortured while facing a potential death sentence, as well as gathering evidence to expose wider, systematic abuse in countries such as Pakistan and United Arab Emirates.
  • Reprieve US challenges the use of police torture to secure death sentences in the UAE and elsewhere, and Reprieve lawyers have advocated on behalf of political protesters in Egypt facing death sentences in mass trials.




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