Is torture admissible in a state based on a democratic constitution that declares the pre-eminence of the human being and the inviolability of his/her rights of freedom? The constitutional orders of four leading democracies - France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States - together with the commitments made by those same states at international level when they signed the UN Convention Against Torture, ought to indicate a negative answer to this question. Events that have taken place over a long period of time demonstrate, however, that the agents of a democratic state are also capable of practising torture. Tolerated in silence during the Algerian war, cases of torture, explained away as "techniques of interrogation", were gradually refined in Northern Ireland and ultimately made official by the government of the United States during the war in Iraq. Used in the absence of any presumed state of necessity, as has also been the case in Italy, the application of such "techniques" reveals their true nature as acts of psychopathic sadism.
Keywords: State - Torture - Democracy - Constitution - Rights