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Tools of torture? Use of electric shock equipment among African police
24 June 2016

This policy brief is part of the ‘tools of torture' series. Other policy briefs in this series:

Torture is not an act that happens in isolation. It occurs in many contexts, and there are several techniques and means by which pain and suffering are inflicted on suspects, convicted inmates and others deprived of their liberty.

This policy brief highlights how African law-enforcement agencies or government security forces potentially misuse electric shock equipment in a way that contravenes international and continental anti-torture frameworks. It then discusses reported cases of such misuse in South Africa. Finally, recommendations are made on how the use of electric shock equipment on the continent could be curbed, along with ways to build on efforts to prohibit and prevent torture.

About the author

Mothepa Shadung is a junior researcher at the ISS in Pretoria. She works in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, in the Africa’s Development and the Threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction programme and the Arms Management programme. She holds a master’s qualification in international relations from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

The Omega Research Foundation is funded to do this research by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Oak Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The ISS is also grateful for support from the members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.