What is state violence?
State violence has many faces. It encompasses the unlawful limitation of freedom of speech, jailing of non-violent political prisoners, torture and other kinds of maltreatment, the death penalty, the refusal of fair trials and the pursuit of unfair trials, arbitrary arrests and the ‘disappearance’ of members of the opposition as well as physical and psychological intimidation such as death threats or the threat of torture.
The victims of such state repression can be found amongst members of the political opposition, the media, opposite ethnic groups as well as competing societal or business interest groups. Depending on the prevailing state ideology and legal concept, violent attacks against freedom of speech and individual freedoms are also geared to those with different faiths or ‘infidels’. Often, threats from ‘outside’ are given as a reason why people are unlawfully persecuted ‘to protect the state’.