November 25, 2007

Tasers face growing opposition

U.N. Committee calls it "torture"

In the wake of the deaths of six people in just one week and a videotaped incident at an airport in Canada in which a man died after being tased, calls for the restriction or ban of shock-inducing tasers are becoming increasingly urgent.

On Friday, the controversy grew when a United Nations Committee Against Torture called taser use a form of torture. The comment was embedded in a larger report on the committee’s activities, and focused on the use of tasers in Portugal.

Although public criticism focuses on taser use by police, much more out of sight the weapons are widely used as weapons of control in U.S. prisons and juvenile detention facilities. Such widespread tasering of prisoners is documented in the BBC documentary, "Torture: America's Brutal Prisons."

A CBS news report is online here. An Amnesty International report on taser use is here.