Water torture

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Water torture encompasses a variety of techniques using water to inflict physical or psychological harm on a victim as a form of torture or execution.

Forced ingestion[edit]

Main article: Water cure (torture)

In this form of water torture, water is forced down the throat and into the stomach. It was used as a legal torture and execution method by the courts in France in the 17th and 18th century. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century it was used against Filipinos by American Forces during the Philippine-American War and was employed against British Commonwealth, American and Chinese prisoners during World War II by the Japanese. [1] The Human Rights Watch organization reports that in the 2000s, security forces in Uganda sometimes forced a detainee to lie face up under an open water spigot.[2]

Water intoxication can result from drinking too much water. This has caused some fatalities over the years in fraternities in North America during initiation week. For example, a person was hazed to death by Chi Tau of Chico State (California) in 2005 via the forcing of pushups and the drinking of water from a bottle.[3]

Fear of drowning[edit]

Main article: Waterboarding

Waterboarding refers to a technique involving water poured over the face or head of the subject, in order to evoke the instinctive fear of drowning. Often a wet cloth is placed in the subject's mouth, giving the impression that he or she is drowning.

Dripping water[edit]

Main article: Chinese water torture

What is called the "Chinese water torture" was a torture described by Hippolytus de Marsiliis in the 16th century that was supposed to drive its victim insane with the stress of water dripping on a part of the forehead for a very long time. It may also be characterised by the inconsistent pattern of water drips. There are no expert opinions on the true cause of torture in this method.

Dunking[edit]

Main article: Dunking

This form of torture was used in the early modern period as a trial by ordeal.

Other forms of water torture[edit]

  • Supposedly, the Rasphuis in Amsterdam, a 17th-century institution that attempted to rehabilitate young male criminals through labor, contained a "water dungeon," the so-called Waterhuis.[4] If prisoners refused to work they were placed in a cellar that quickly filled with water after a sluice was opened, and were handed a pump that enabled them to keep from drowning. Geert Mak and other authors, however, point out that there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of this room and this punishment.[5]
  • The House of Terror in Budapest, Hungary, shows examples of water torture used by the Nazi and Arrow Cross Parties against the Jews. One involves a sunken cell filled with ice cold water; the prisoner must stand on a tiny metal plinth in the centre of the room. When the prisoner becomes tired or falls asleep, he or she will fall from the plinth into the icy water.[citation needed]
  • The water torture as inflicted in medieval Europe was sometimes intensified by mixing hot peppers, vinegar, and even urine with the water. Central Asian tribes commonly inflicted the water torture with urine. The Vietnamese have dunked prisoners in a tank filled with urine and feces as a form of torture.[citation needed]

Other[edit]

Sources and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes by Edward Frederick Langley Russell, Baron Russell of Liverpool (1958)
  2. ^ Human Rights Watch, Human Rights News: Torture Worldwide
  3. ^ Korry, Elaine (November 14, 2005). "A Fraternity Hazing Gone Wrong". NPR. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  4. ^ Pol, Lotte van der (1996). Het Amsterdams hoerdom: prostitutie in de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw. Wereldbibliotheek. p. 192. "Het rasphuis had opvallend genoeg ook een hardnekkige mythe. In dit tuchthuis voor mannen zou een 'waterhuis' of verdrinkingscel zijn waarin gevangenen werden gezet die niet wilden werken." 
  5. ^ Mak, Geert (1994). Een kleine geschiedenis van Amsterdam. Atlas. p. 180. ISBN 978-90-254-0416-1. "Jacob Bicker Raye en enkele anderen melden zelfs het - overigens onbevestigde - bestaan van een 'waterhuis'."