What Is a Chair of Torture?
A chair of torture is a type of device used to inflict severe pain on an individual. It may be designed in such a way that it is difficult to get in and out of, or have spikes to break the skin. This type of device has been popular amongst torturers since ancient times.
The rack is the classic medieval torture device, and it can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. It has a system of cranks that tighten the ropes restraining the victim and stretches them, which makes them more painful.
It is also often used as a form of physical interrogation, with the victim tied to the device and having their hands placed into it. This can also lead to injuries that are not treated properly and can cause more pain, as well as long-term physical damage.
In the United States, restraint chairs have been criticized for their use in situations where they could be used to subject individuals to extreme physical and mental stress. The United Nations committee that oversees the Convention against Torture has urged governments to ensure that they are only used in “appropriate circumstances” and that detainees have the opportunity to challenge the use of restraints.
This has not stopped some law enforcement officials from misusing these devices, however. In Tennessee, for instance, an officer was caught on video repeatedly tasing and hitting a defenseless teenager strapped to a restraint chair. The teen eventually died of a drug overdose two years after the incident, according to WTVF, a CBS affiliate in Nashville.
Other cases of restraint chairs have reportedly been misused in jails to force suspects to confess to crimes or otherwise evade prosecution. One lieutenant at a New Jersey jail recently sued her director for retaliating against her for speaking out about the misuse of these devices.
The Torquemada table, designed by Philippe Starck for French manufacturer Driade, is reminiscent of a traditional torture rack. Underneath the table top are rectangular mirror-polished steel supports that slice its legs, similar to a guillotine.