A defining feature of the state is its ability to impose coercion. But coercion is supposed to be limited by the rules of liberal democracy. Torture, whatever precise definition it is given, is acknowledged to be out of bounds under the rules of liberal democracy. But what happens in a world where terror threats are global and are addressed through cooperation between states, some of which are liberal democracies and some of which are not? Rendition illustrates the problem. It refers to the practice of a liberal democracy, the US, rendering suspects to jurisdictions where there are no liberal safeguards against torture, and then using the evidence gained. The US admits that it has used rendition; the UK has now admitted that it assisted the US in the process of despatching suspects for rendition; there are allegations by suspects that they were tortured with the complicity of the UK authorities.
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