Stories of Torture Survivors Who Sought Redress in Post-apartheid South Africa

The report looks only at experiences of torture amongst young black males in South Africa who have brought civil claims against police through court processes. It looks at all the steps and challenges that torture victims encounter in seeking justice through court processes. The report is based on individual interviews conducted with eight torture survivors recruited from the University of the Witwatersrand Law Clinic, which provided them with free legal assistance. The young black males in the study were more likely to be tortured by police based on existing negative stereotypes of seeing them as potential criminal suspects. The study shows that civil proceedings were used rather than criminal proceedings in dealing with cases of torture through court processes. It is also clear that torture had a negative impact on the psychosocial and physical functioning of the torture survivors. The last part of the report offers specific recommendations regarding dealing with torture in the new South Africa, based on the key findings of the study. These include the need to raise awareness about torture and the right of torture survivors to access psychosocial, medical and legal services. It is also important that advocacy and lobbying initiatives are undertaken to deal with the problem of torture in South Africa."