Torture through confinement


Other than beating, various types of confinement are the most frequently reported forms of torture. Victims are held in solitary confinement, sometimes without light, adequate air, sanitation facilities, or contact with other people. They may be held in cells so small they are unable to lie, sit or stand. Not infrequently, prisoners are crowded into cells or transportation vehicles so that they are crushed or asphyxiated. In rural areas, holes are dug and covered with bamboo or other materials where prisoners are kept for days or weeks. They may be bound with rope, chains, wire, handcuffs or fetters, sometimes so tight that circulation is impaired. Hooding involves placing a covering over the head so that the victim cannot see. It may be wet so that breathing is difficult. In other cases, gas masks are used.


Confinement has been reported in the following countries:

[Africa] Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger, Zaire

[America] Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru

[Asia] China, India, Indonesia, Iran Islamic Rep, Israel, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan (Rep of China), Viet Nam

[Europe] Albania, USSR

Broader Problems:
Torture by deprivation
Narrower Problems:
Solitary confinement
Related Problems:
Incommunicado detention
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
17.10.2021 – 09:33 CEST