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Torture: It Can Happen Anywhere

Juan Mendez

Torture can happen to anyone. Just ask Juan Méndez.

In 1975, while representing political prisoners as a human rights lawyer in Argentina, Méndez was arrested, tortured, and eventually expelled from the country. Today, he is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, investigating human rights violations.

“Under certain conditions,” he says, “any country, any state can decide to use extreme measures, and a lot of us can be the victims.”

But in a post–September 11 world, isn’t torture necessary to keep us safe? To the contrary. “Torture only breeds more crime and more terrorism,” says Méndez.

But torture doesn’t happen only in interrogation rooms. Sometimes, it happens where you might least expect it. In the above video, Méndez explains.

Juan Méndez is a member of the Open Society Justice Initiative board. At Open Society is a video series highlighting the people and ideas that are inspiring our work—and changing the world.

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