- Between Medicine and Honor: The Legal Ban on Torture in the Ottoman Empire, 1840–1858
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 4, Number 1, May 2017
- pp. 31-53
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- Additional Information
Although it is an extremely critical topic to comprehend the nature of political power, the practice of torture remains relatively neglected in Ottoman history. This article studies the systematic and consistent official policy to legally ban the practice of torture as a form of punishment and method of criminal investigation in the mid-nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire. By examining why Ottoman reformers set about to legally ban the practice of torture, this article also explores the emergence of a radically new official Ottoman conception of political power and justice. This new conception envisaged a mechanical functioning of the state and its treatment of all Ottoman subjects equally. Furthermore, this article also illustrates the relationship between the legal ban on torture and an essential change in producing legal evidence. It highlights, therefore, that the new conception of political power and justice became practicable in the criminal justice system significantly through the development of forensic medicine during the mid-nineteenth century.