UN torture report decries Taser

Well, we made it to the top 20 police states so this is not surprising. I reckon next year we’ll have gone up another couple of places.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture says it is “deeply concerned” about New Zealand police adopting the Taser stun gun, as it releases a growing list of worries about this country’s justice system.

The committee has released its fifth report on New Zealand, which covers the period 2003 to 2007.

While it approved some moves the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which removed the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically punish their children, there was a longer list of concerns, including worries about the use of Tasers by police.

The severe pain they caused could be seen as a form of torture and could even kill someone.

During the trial period the Taser was mainly used on Maori and youth, which was concerning, the committee said.

It was also concerned about the impartiality of the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which included current and former police officers.

That could hamper investigations into allegations of acts of torture and ill-treatment by the police, the committee said.

Green Party human rights spokesperson Keith Locke said the Government should take note of concerns raised about the use of the Taser.

“New Zealand politicians should listen when a reputable UN committee says this 50,000-volt stun gun inflicts ‘a form of torture’ on its targets,” Mr Locke said.

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