The countries around the world that think torture is justified

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Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 18, 2002 (Picture: Shane T McCoy/Getty)

The emergence of Isis as a global threat has made anti-terror tactics one of the foremost issues in recent Republican and Democrat presidential debates.

One of the most revisited topics has been whether the American use of torture on terror suspects post 9/11 was justified - and new data from the Pew Research Center shows that public opinion worldwide is split on whether government-sponsored terrorism can ever be legitimate.

The survey of 38 different countries found that a median of 45 per cent of people said that torture was never justified, and a median of 40 per cent said it could be in specific cases to learn information about future terrorist attacks.

The countries with publics most likely to say that torture is justified were:

  • Uganda (78 per cent)

  • Lebanon (72 per cent)

  • Israel (62 per cent)

  • Kenya (62 per cent)

  • Nigeria (61 per cent)

  • USA (58 per cent)

The top five are all countries that have suffered heavy civilian losses from insurgencies and war in recent history, with the US coming in a close sixth.

A median of 55 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa think torture can be justified, 45 per cent in the Middle East, 42 percent in Asian Pacific nations, 36 per cent in Europe and just 25 per cent in Latin America.

Within the US, researchers found that views on torture were sharply divided along political lines: 73 per cent of Republicans think torture on terror suspects can be justified, compared to 46 per cent of people who said they are Democrats.


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