Case Study

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Inter American University of Puerto Rico

CASE STUDY: TORTURE THE BOMBING SUSPECT?
Source: Dr. Tom Kerns, Introduction to Bioethics, http://www.bioethicscourse.info/casesite/cs-torture.html

GEPE 4040 Ethical Dimensions Contemporary Affairs
Prof.: Miłosz Mariusz Jacko, Ph.D.

At 9:30am a phone call was received at The Seattle Times from a person claiming to have placed a bomb at an undisclosed location in downtown Seattle. The caller indicated the device was set to detonate at 2pm the same day. The device was described as a small yield nuclear device capable of massive collateral damage and loss of life for ten square blocks in downtown Seattle. The possibility of destruction, injury, and further loss of life outside the initial blast radius is apparent. The caller did not specify any demands before terminating the call after 20 seconds. The assumption of credibility is leant to this threat because over the past several weeks there have been a series of unsolved bombings. Before each of these prior bombings a similar phone call was reported. With this particular threat there are important and notable differences. This scenario has a grievous magnitude described by the unidentified caller and there is a suspect in custody of law enforcement.

The suspect in custody has not yielded any information disclosing the location of the explosive device. For 90 minutes, the authorities in custody of this suspect have employed aggressive interrogation techniques in order to persuade the suspect to cooperate to no avail. The bomb is set to explode in the next 90 minutes. With time running out, it was suggested that the suspect be tortured in order to get the captured man to disclose the location of the nuclear device.

Considering the aforementioned details of this situation and its horrific consequences implied, if the caller was telling the truth, the torture of the captured man should, in my opinion, be carried out on the captured man. In this extreme...
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