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Brutality in an Age of Human RightsActivism and Counterinsurgency at the End of the British Empire$
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Brian Drohan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501714658

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501714658.001.0001

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“This Unhappy Affair”

“This Unhappy Affair”

Investigating Torture in Aden

(p.114) Chapter 4 “This Unhappy Affair”
Brutality in an Age of Human Rights

Brian Drohan

Cornell University Press

Chapter four explains how allegations that British forces used torture during interrogations led to colonial officials’ efforts to evade scrutiny, deny that abuses had occurred, and impugn the character of those making accusations. In 1966, Amnesty International advocated for a government investigation of these torture allegations. When ministers proved uninterested in investigating the allegations, Amnesty dispatched an investigator of its own and publicized his findings. In response to potential public embarrassment, the Foreign Secretary ordered a limited inquiry that produced a tactful semi-admission that abuses had occurred and recommended several reforms. Officials in Aden appeared to cooperate by implementing the reforms but simultaneously manipulated oversight mechanisms to ensure that the interrogation system remained shielded from scrutiny. Protected by the High Commissioner and other senior officials in Aden, interrogators resumed the use of torture.

Keywords:   detainees, torture, Aden, interrogation, Amnesty International

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