Since World War II, international treaties banning torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading practices have been among the most widely ratified in existence. However, torture is still practiced in many places, and is hard to root out in part because governments do it in secret, behind closed doors. Common targets include not only terror suspects, armed insurgents, suspected rebels, and their presumed supporters, but also political opponents or government critics, members of religious minorities, gays, and ordinary criminal suspects, including suspected juvenile offenders.

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