Inhuman States / Edition 1

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This is a first-hand account of the often appalling conditions in prisons, police stations, psychiatric institutions, detention centres and other places where individuals are deprived of their liberty. It is based on extensive inspections in many countries in Europe, including the UK, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey, by a group of inspectors who had hitherto unparalleled access to institutions of detention.

Inhuman States is a gripping account of the seamy side of Europe, of those 'social dustbins' that most people tend to ignore and of the practices - including torture - which take place within them. But it is also a book about some general concepts - what is 'human'? What should 'inhuman' or 'degrading' mean? Should general standards be uniformly applied to countries with diverse traditions, legal systems and conditions of life?

This book is also a forceful plea for a better and more civilized Europe. Cassese argues that Europe should be unified not only in the field of markets, banks, lawyers, and commerce: an effort should also be made to set out and implement at least some common European standards of justice with regard to those places of detention where each country relegates its misfits, deviants and all those who are thought to imperil the social fabric.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This remarkable book bears astonishing witness to the widespreadpersistence of torture and institutional cruelty in today's Europe.It is a chilling and moving account by a widely acclaimed legalscholar and moral authority figure." Richard Falk, PrincetonUniversity

"Sober, brief, altogether convincing ... it is full offascinating information and insights." The Times HigherEducation Supplement

"The author is a visionary of the kind that Europe sorely needsto penetrate xenophobic and nationalistic mistrust which can inturn lead to state secrecy and ultimately abuse. InhumanStates is an interesting and sometimes chilling read ... thisis a thoughtful book liberally sprinkled with classical andacademic references, but it is not academic in nature." Journalof Civil Liberties

"An accessible and compelling story ... harrowing experiences ofwhich [Cassese] has here given so moving an account."International and Comparative Law Quarterly

"This ... elegantly written volume is an excellent translationof a book that appeared in Italian in 1994. This is a moving andhighly readable account of the dilemmas of being an internationallysanctioned human rights monitor with limited powers, confronted bya deep-rooted tradition of torture and abuse of detainees that isstill remarkably commonplace throughout Europe." EuropeanJournal of International Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745617220
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Cassese has for many years been Professor of International Law at Florence University and subsequently at the European University Institute in Florence. From 1989 to 1993 he presided over a group of international inspectors, who investigated, on behalf of the Council of Europe, the conditions of prisons, police stations, detention centres and other places where individuals are deprived of their liberty.

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Table of Contents


1. A Revolutionary Step.

2. The Blue Berets of Human Rights?.

3. Firemen or Specialists in Preventive Medicine?.

4. Into the Breach: Inspectors in Action.

5. What is Human, Inhuman or Degrading?.

6. On Torture.

7. Common Criminals and Terrorists.

8. Policemen, Prison Warders and Magistrates.

9. A Few Concluding Observations.


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