The Official Torturer: A Learning Model for Obedience to the Authority of Violence


1 Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Dr. Mika Haritos-Fatouros, Department of Psychology, The University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.


The military training and selection procedures leading to the behavior of a torturer are discussed. The analysis is based on testimonies of army police servicemen at the first torturers' trial in Greece and on the interviews of ex-military policemen who served under the military dictatorship in Greece (1967–1974). It is concluded that, given the appropriate training condition, any individual is a potential torturer, and a model for obedience to the authority of violence is proposed.