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(934 words)

Author(s): Frenz, Helmut
It is difficult to give a single definition of torture, since people are so different as regards threshold of pain, psychological makeup, and social and cultural ¶ conditioning. Nevertheless, certain essential features of torture are part of any definition: (1) it always involves at least two persons, one of whom is in the physical power of the other; (2) it involves acute pain or anguish, physical, mental, or spiritual; (3) its aim is to subdue and break the victim; (4) it is a systematic action with a rational purpose; and (5) it is done by, or at the command of, an official of the state. 1. Afte…

Amnesty International

(453 words)

Author(s): Frenz, Helmut
Amnesty International (AI), an international organization that is independent of governments, political parties, ideologies, economic interests, and religions, plays a special role in the worldwide struggle for human rights. It does this particularly in cases of political imprisonment, working for the release of men, women, and children who are detained because of their political convictions, color, sex, race, culture, or religion, or who for these reasons are subjected to other physical restric…