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                Forced gymnastics, used as a torture method by communists

...As the KGB had demonstrated, it was possible to inflict terrifying pain on a subject, and break his will to resist, without necessary touching him -- simply by compelling him, under threat of direct physical assault, to maintain a stress position for a protracted time. Interrogators may force a subject to stand, crouch, hold one's arms overhead or at the sides for long periods; they may involve force him to do endless deep knee bends, as was required of some detainees at Abu Ghraib.

"The frog," a variation of this last method, was used by Romanian Communists to break down the resistance of young Christian rebels sent to re-education camps.

In his memoir The Anti-Humans, Romanian anti-Communist Dumitru Bacu (a pseudonym) writes of how "the frog" was used in the "cycle of tortures" employed against those deemed to be "fanatics" in their resistance to the new regime.

"One of the tests for the fanatical students was forced gymnastics, especially the semi-squat or `frog,'" writes Bacu. "To touch the heels with the buttocks was not permitted, and the hands had to be held laterally the whole time, stretched out, or raised high above the head. During this semi-squat posture, the student had to raise and lower himself in time to a rhythm set by the re-educator by hitting on wood with a stick hours on end, uninterruptedly." "Normally and without any coercion," he continues, "a man in good physical condition can do up to fifty flexions of this kind, after which his legs begin to stiffen. The student A.D. from the Faculty of Letters in Bucharest, arrested in 1948 and sentenced to ten years, did in a single night, above the portable toilet, over one thousand."

          (from "How Common is Torture?")



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