For the purposes of the Article 3 prohibition of torture1 the distinction between 'torture' and 'inhuman or degrading treatment'2 derives principally from the intensity of the suffering inflicted, although torture also has a purposive element and is an intentional act3. Use of the term 'torture' is intended to attach a special stigma to deliberate inhuman treatment causing very serious and cruel suffering4, the assessment of the severity of which depends on all the circumstances of the case, such as the duration of the treatment, its physical or mental effects and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of
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