skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120525 Find in a Library
Title: Detention & Torture in South Africa: Psychological, Legal, and Historical Studies
Author(s): D Foster
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 250
Sponsoring Agency: St Martin's Press
New York, NY 10010
Publication Number: ISBN 0-312-00785-X
Sale Source: St Martin's Press
Scholarly & Reference Division
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Evidence suggests that detainees held under security laws in South Africa are frequently subjected to torture, despite government claims to the contrary.
Abstract: It is believed that about 40,000 detainees have been victimized by Apartheid's legislation and that detention is a political act designed to contain democratic political opposition to the white minority South African regime. It is also felt that the past 35 years have seen a substantial erosion of court independence and jurisdiction and an increase in executive power. Conditions for those held under security law detention are harsh. Torture, in terms of both physical and psychological abuse, seems to be a relatively standard procedure. The psychological outcome of detention and tortue is similar to post-traumatic stress caused by other highly stressful situations such as automobile and aircraft crashes, military combat, rape, prisoner-of-war or concentration camps, and natural disasters. The most substantial problem with respect to post-traumatic stress is the possibility that noxious stressors such as torture may not produce a unitary syndrome, but rather separable disorders dependent on the precise nature of stressors involved. Recommendations to improve human rights and criminal justice in South Africa are offered that are based on medical, legal, and psychological ethics. Tabular data from an empirical study of detention in South Africa are appended. 507 references, 15 tables, 2 figures.
Main Term(s): Detention; Torture
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice systems; Human rights; Political offenders; South Africa
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.