Paul Aussaresses, French soldier who defended torture, dies

Dec. 4, 2013 at 4:08 PM   |   Comments

PARIS, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Paul Aussaresses, who was stripped of his rank as a French Army general for admitting using torture in Algeria and defending the practice, has died. He was 95.

A French veterans website, Qui Ose Gagne or Who Dares Wins, announced his death Wednesday. His funeral was scheduled for Tuesday in the parish church in La Vancelle, Alsace.

Aussaresses' military career began with the Free French in World War II, when he was parachuted into occupied France to work with the Resistance, France24 reported. He fought in Indochina and Algeria, where he headed intelligence operations in Algiers in 1957.

In 2001, Aussaresses published "The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-terrorism in Algeria 1955-1957," where he justified the use of torture and summary executions against a ruthless enemy. After the book came out, President Jacques Chirac banned Aussaresses from wearing the French Army uniform, stripped him of his rank and took away his Legion of Honor.

He was unrepentant about his actions.

"Once you have seen with your own eyes as I did, civilians, men, women, and children quartered, disemboweled and nailed to doors, you are changed for life," he told Le Monde in 2000, describing what he said were the practices of the Algerian rebels. "What feelings can anyone have towards those who perpetrated such barbaric acts and their accomplices?"

In 2003, Aussaresses was convicted of defending war crimes and fined thousands of dollars.

Aussaresses lectured U.S. troops in the 1960s on "the techniques of the battle of Algiers," France24 said. He served as a military attache in Brazil in 1973.

"During his career Aussaresses not only practiced torture, but also taught the techniques of torture in clandestine programs with Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s," Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, a French advocacy group, said in a statement on his death.

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