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Torture, a forbidden act that harms integrity

Torture is prohibited and considered a violation of human rights in the major conventions on universal guarantees. Therefore, legally in the international arena, the tendency has been to sanction this malpractice. This act is addressed in depth in the United Nations Declaration and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987), as well as in the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture (1987).

Both instruments define torture as an action that violates fundamental human rights. and whose purpose is to obtain information by using a means of punishment, intimidation, mistreatment, physical violence or any form of discrimination. In addition to being prohibited, torture is classified as an aggravated form of violation of integrity. These international texts also coincide in establishing certain elements, among them: a qualified active subject (in all cases the subject must be a representative of the state, a police officer, military or official of the criminal justice system), the teleological element (that for which the subject is willing to torture), the intention of the active subject and that the action causes physical or mental suffering to the victim.

Torture is carried out with the intention of obtaining information, a statement or confession from the subject.. Most of the time it involves isolation, unlawful deprivation of liberty or kidnapping.

The definition of torture

In the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment torture is defined as "an act performed by a public official or other person at his or her inquiry, i.e. a State agent acting directly or through others". The Inter-American Court of Human Rights also contemplates the actions of public employees or officials who, under the protection of this figure, "order, instigate, induce or directly commit it". In this sense, the Inter-American system may hold the State responsible, in the event that it could have prevented it, but evaded its responsibility. Exceptionally, private participation may be established when the individual acts at the instigation of public officials or employees.

Rating the intensity of suffering is the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.. The criteria for determining it have been addressed by international human rights courts. In general, to evaluate them, objective variables are taken into account, referring to the specific circumstances of the case, and subjective variables that require the particular study of each case, since they include specific qualities such as age, health condition and any other circumstance that may have aggravated the pain and suffering.

However, beyond the aggravating In the case of the victims of these offenses, the main sanction is the malicious conduct of the perpetrator, regardless of the threshold of pain or intensity of the victim's suffering.

In Venezuela, the Special Law to Prevent and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment was published in the Official Gazette on July 22, 2013.. This instrument develops constitutional principles on the right of every person to respect for the guarantee of his life, dignity, psychic and moral integrity. In this sense, its purpose is to promote and defend human rights, guaranteeing the Venezuelan State's mandatory compliance with the obligation to prevent, investigate and punish these crimes committed by public officials.

This law punishes all public officials who in functions inherent to his position injures a person in his custody in his physical, psychological or moral integrity, or for any reason based on any type of discrimination, with the intention of intimidating, punishing or obtaining information or a confession.

The most severe criminal offenses are: the crime of Torturewhich conduct is punishable by 15 to 25 years of imprisonment, and the crime of cruel treatmentwhich establishes a penalty of thirteen to twenty-three years of imprisonment. In both cases, accessory penalties of disqualification from the exercise of public and political functions are established for a period equivalent to that of the sentence decreed.

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