Arming the torturers: Electro-shock torture and the spread of stun technology

Amnesty International is gravely concerned at the rise in the use of modern electro-shock “stun” weapons by torturers. Reports that law enforcement officers in more and more countries are being equipped with such products raises serious fears that they will be used to torture detainees in an increasing number of cases. This report contains recent examples and testimonies from a number of countries where electro-shock weapons, variously described as electric batons, rods, prods, truncheons or sticks, have been used in torture or ill-treatment. It describes the difficulty of detection of the use of these weapons in torture, and the immediate and longer-term effects of electric shock torture on individuals. It examines the differences between actual and intended use, and the legal position of the use and transfer of such weapons. Finally it makes several recommendations to governments and companies to take immediate steps to prevent the transfer of electro-shock weapons to any country where routine torture or instances of electric shock torture and ill-treatment are reported.

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